Walton first Inter-University Football Tournament began at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital on Friday through a grand opening ceremony.
The tournament has been named after Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, who was killed during the militant attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka last year.
Former footballers’ platform Sonali Otit Club and Green University of Bangladesh are jointly organising the tournament for the smooth mental growth and proper entertainment of youth and students, as well as for keeping them away from drugs and terrorist activities.
Vice-Chairman of Bashundhara Group and President of Lt Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd Safwan Sobhan Tasvir inaugurated the 20-team tournament at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in the afternoon as the chief guest.
Chairman of the Governing Body of Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Manzur Kader, Chairman of ATN Bangla Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, Treasurer of Green University Lt Gen Md Mainul Islam and Senior Additional Director (Games and Welfare) of Walton Group FM Iqbal Bin Anwar, President of Sonali Otit Club Khurshid Alam Babul and Tournament Secretary Sheikh Mohammad Aslam were also present on the occasion.
Bashundhara Group, country’s largest business conglomerate is patronising various sporting events like football, cricket, and table tennis.
Members of the Sobhan family had always been proactive and played significant roles in overall development of sports by infrastructure support, sponsoring and hosting mega events at home and abroad.
Speaking at the event, the President of Lt Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club said: “I would like to thank the organisers and all participants from different universities for their participation in such an encouraging tournament.”
“The popularity of football is decreasing day by day.”
He extended warm thanks to Sonali Otit Club for their brave initiative.
“It is a tremendous effort for Sonali Otit Club to try to recover football popularity,” he said.
Former president of the same Club Manzur Kader and Chairman of ATN Bangla Dr Mahfuzur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.
Manzur Kader said: “I hope the tournament will be very successful. Our young generation is getting addictions to drug and other things.
Football tournaments can recover its losing popularity by bringing such initiatives.”
Dr Mahfuzur Rahman said: “I have been involved with Sonali Otit Club since its very beginning. The Club is taking very good efforts for football. In our country football used to be the most popular event. Football fans and supporters craved for watching Abahani-Mohammedan clashes.”
He hoped the tournament will help to regain its losing popularity.
On the opening day, Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) won against Bangladesh Textiles University by 3-2 goals at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Earlier, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) earned an easy victory by 2-0 goals against East West University while the match between Prime Asia University and Stamford University Bangladesh ended in a 1-1 draw.
Both the matches were held at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Sipahi Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur.
A total 20 university teams, split into four groups, are participating in the tournament. Later, four group champions will play in the semi-finals.
Participating teams are Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, BRAC University, City University, Daffodil International University, Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology (DUET), East West University, Far-East International University, Gano University, Independent University Bangladesh, IUBAT, Prime Asia University, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Sonargaon University, Southern University Chittagong, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), South East University, Stamford University Bangladesh, North South University, Bangladesh University of Textiles and hosts Green University.