A packed crowd erupted in cheers and applause as Retuporna Chakma, one of the five Chattogram region girls of the Saff Women Champion Bangladesh football team, took the mike and said, "I am a Chattogram girl."
Thousands gathered on Wednesday at the port city's Jamalkhan Square to accord a reception to the players, who were equally jubilant at the event, organised by Dainik Azadi, the first newspaper of independent Bangladesh.
Rupna Chakma of Rangamati, Monika Chakma of Khagrachari district and twin sisters Anai Mugini and Anucing Mugini were the other four players honoured in the reception.
"I came to Chattogram after a long time. I am truly at a loss of words to see so many people waiting on the street at such a big arrangement. Let me just say this to the fans – your endless support is our motivation to move forward. Your encouragement will strengthen our drive," said Rangamati's Retuporna Chakma
The women footballers arrived at the Jamalkhan Square around 4pm in an open-top jeep. Hundreds of people lined up on both sides of the roads and cheered the Saff champion ladies as they moved through a motor procession. The players were welcomed with garlands as the National Anthem was played in loudspeakers.
Daily Azadi Editor MA Malek, Begum Kamrun Malek, Daily Azadi Managing Editor Wahid Malek, Executive Editor Shihab Malek and Jamalkhan Ward Councillor Shoibal Das Sumon welcomed the five footballers with sashes at the beginning of the ceremony.
After that Divisional Commissioner Mohammad Ashraf Uddin, Police Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy, CJKS General Secretary AJM Nasir Uddin, Bangladesh Football Federation National Team Committee and Women Wings member, BCB Director Manjur Alam Manju handed over mementos to the footballers.
On behalf of the Dainik Azadi the players were also given cheques.
"We are also honoured to honour them today. This achievement of our girls will inspire both boys and girls into sports," said Daily Azadi editor MA Malek.
"You have achieved what the boys could not, you are our light bearers," he told the national football team women.
CJKS general secretary and former mayor of Chittagong AJM Nasir Uddin said, "These girls are the pride of our greater Chattogram."