Bangladesh U-16 women's football team's first ever camp in foreign conditions turned out to be a “big test” and “immense experience”, expressed key players and head coach Golam Rabbani Choton yesterday.
The girls in red and green participated in the Women’s Football Festival in Osaka and played a total of seven matches during their five-day stay in Japan. They played six matches in two days as the officials treated the tour as part of their preparation camp, ahead of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Thailand in September this year.
The difference in facilities, academy and grounds between Bangladesh and Japan was beyond comparison. For instance, the academy, named “Dream Camp of Sakai”, has as many as 16 fields in their boundary.
Choton, captain Srimoti Krishna Rani Sarkar and in-form striker Sirat Jahan Shopna shared their experience with the media with regards to their Japan Tour. They expressed their satisfaction praised the facilities they enjoyed over there.
The Bangladesh girls put up a brave and praiseworthy display in their seven matches, winning four, drawing two and losing only one. The members from the other participating teams were full of praise after watching the amazing performance of the Bangladesh girls. Some even wondered if Shopna really hails from Bangladesh.
“Never before has a women's team from Bangladesh went abroad for such purpose. There were lots of teams. We also never played three matches in one day ever before. It was a huge experience for us,” said Shopna, who scored a total of seven goals from six matches.
Krishna termed their tour as a “dream camp” and said they learned a lot off the field as well.
“It was like a dream academy the place where we stayed. From morning to night, we were involved with football all the time,” said Krishna.
Choton said, “We played against Thailand U-16 team there. We scored and dominated against them. It was a big test as we have to face them in the tournament proper in September. It has been hectic times but overall, it was a great experience for the girls.”
Bangladesh U-16 team are likely to fly off to another country in the shape of Singapore. They may play a three-day tournament starting from February 16. It would be tagged as “Tier One International Friendly Matches” and four players from the senior team would be included in the tour, along with the 16 girls from the current U-16 team.