Bangladesh U-19 world champions return to a hero’s welcome

Thousands of fans celebrated on the streets and a big crowd at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium screamed “we are the champions” as Bangladesh U-19s returned home on Wednesday.

Bangladesh U-19

The victorious Bangladesh U-19 players are welcomed upon arriving at Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka.   -  AFP

Thousands of ecstatic fans celebrated on the streets and a stadium crowd screamed “we are the champions” as Bangladesh U-19s returned home to a hero’s welcome on Wednesday after winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

They stunned four-time winner India in the final late on Sunday in South Africa’s Potchefstroom to record a three-wicket victory over the favourite.

A flight carrying the victors landed at Dhaka’s main airport at 4:55pm (1055 GMT) local time where they were greeted by officials and thousands of jersey wearing and flag waving fans.

The country’s sports minister Zahid Ahsan and the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s president Nazmul Hassan received the players and support staff with flower garlands at the airport as fans roared “Bangladesh, Bangladesh. We are the World Champions.”

Read: A beginning of success in cricket for us, says Bangladesh U-19 captain Akbar Ali

The players boarded a specially designed bus painted in national colours and had ‘World Champions’ written in front as they travelled to Dhaka’s main cricket stadium.

Hundreds of people stood on both sides of the streets to cheer the victorious team. A procession of motor bikes with many waving national flags followed the team.

“We are champions. These boys really made us proud,” said an ecstatic fan Ariful Islam.

100

Bangladesh U-19 captain Akbar Ali with the BCB president Nazmul Hasan (R) during a reception ceremony at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium after the team's arrival from South Africa.   -  AFP

Islam was one of an estimated 5,000 fans, according to police, who welcomed the junior Tigers at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, also known as the home of Bangldeshi cricket.

Fans waiting outside quickly filled up parts of the stands as the BCB rolled out a red carpet for the players.

- ‘Unbelievable’ welcome -

Victorious captain Akbar Ali cut a huge cake before the festivities ended with 19 fireworks.

Ali said the team was surprised by the reception.

“We knew something would happen, but we did not expect it would be this big. It is unbelievable. I cannot express in words how I am feeling now,” Ali told a crowded press conference at the stadium.

Ali, who scored an unbeaten 43 in the tense final to become player of the match, hoped the win would help the sport in the country move forward.

“Everything needs a start. I hope our win will work as a stepping stone to take our cricket forward,” Ali said.

BCB chief Hassan hailed the triumph as Bangladesh’s biggest ever sporting success.

“We have had many achievements in the past, but nothing can be comparable to what this team has achieved. A World Cup is a World Cup. They won it. It was our dream,” Hassan said.

“We will create an Under-21 unit (with this team) and give specialised training to upgrade their skill. During this period each player will receive Tk 100,000 ($1,175 approximately) every month. This is our reward for them,” she added.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also hold a public reception for the players in Dhaka’s sprawling Suhrawardi Udyan park in next week, the BCB chief said.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos