• Thursday, Jan 20, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

U-16 success may inspire country’s football

  • Published at 11:44 pm September 23rd, 2018
Bangladesh U-16 football team celebrate after beating their Vietnam counterparts at the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in Dhaka Sunday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Golam Rabbani Choton expressed optimism after his charges beat a strong Vietnam outfit Sunday to become the group champion of Pool F of the first round of the 2019 AFC U-16 Women's Championship qualification at Bir Sreshtha Shaheed Sipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium

Bangladesh U-16 women’s team head coach Golam Rabbani Choton hoped the latest success in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers could be an inspiration for not only the victorious girls but also for the others in Bangladesh’s football arena.

Choton expressed optimism after his charges beat a strong Vietnam outfit Sunday to become the group champion of Pool F of the first round of the 2019 AFC U-16 Women's Championship qualification at Bir Sreshtha Shaheed Sipahi Mostafa Kamal Stadium. 

Bangladesh U-18 side, scheduled to leave for Bhutan Wednesday, will have as many as 13 players from the triumphant U-16 squad. As many as 13 players from the U-16 squad will also be in the Bhutan contingent, set to leave here for Thimphu.

Choton expected his side to continue their winning run. 

“Like we did last time, our ultimate target is to make it to the final round and I think we are in the right direction. [Yesterday’s] result is the output of all the tireless hard work the girls put in to improve their performance every day. I want to salute them,” said an ecstatic Choton. 

“The girls played aggressive football, kept possession and dominated throughout the game. They [Vietnam] put up some resistance in the first half, but couldn’t cope with us in the final half due to fitness. I want to say to the girls not to stop here but work harder to move forward and improve even more.

“We worked on the mistakes after every match and the girls also showed improvement in every game. Vietnam are a very strong team. My message to the girls before the game was to play their natural game, rectify the mistakes by their own. They couldn’t play their game during the final in Bhutan but they took big lessons from there, which reflected on their game.” 

Choton also hailed his side for utilising their chances properly. 

“The girls scored from the chances they created. We didn’t get enough chances but made sure we utilised them. They are improving,” he said.

He also termed Shamsunnahar and Tahura Khatun as “naturally God-gifted” and Nazma Khatun as one of the best defenders in the circuit. He thought with their presence, skipper Maria Manda got more flexibility in the attacking half.

Goal-scorer Akhi Khatun was also ecstatic at the press conference and she thought their hard work bore rich fruit. 

“Proud to make it happen in front of the home crowds. Extremely happy, we have more tournaments ahead of us,” said the defender, who scored the second goal for the host.

“I was not good at heading before, used to miss the flight while trying to head. The coaches trained us, especially the defenders, in improving our headers.

“We are now more fearless than ever before. Now we have more faith and showed no fear before facing stronger opponents. Pressing and running have also improved.

“Paul [Smalley] sir told me that if I can score it would boost me. I was waiting to score from the corners since the first game.”

She also said her favourite player is Kaiser Hamid, a Bangladesh legend.

“[Along with Paolo Maldini] Some compare me with Xavi [Hernandez], [Gerard] Pique but as I’m a Bangladesh girl, I should follow our own football stars, it’s Kaiser Hamid,” said Akhi. 

 Tahura, the opening goal-scorer, echoed Akhi. 

“We were determined to keep our consistency; we worked really hard starting from the early morning with a couple of practice sessions every day,” said Tahura.

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