‘First we want to win against Maldives and Pakistan to secure semi-final.‘ Words by Ghulam Rabbani Chotan, Who is the coach of Bangladesh national women’s football team. The sixth edition of the Women’s SAFF Championship will be held from September 6-19 at Dashrath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.. Bangladesh has finalized a 23-member squad for this tournament. Coach Chhotan announced the team in the conference room of Bangladesh Football Federation (BAFFE) on Thursday.
Goalkeeper Milli is not in the announced team. Sathi Biswas returned to the team instead. He was in the Asian Cup qualifying squad last year. Seven countries are participating in this year’s event. India will play Bangladesh in Group A, Against Maldives and Pakistan. ‘B‘ Nepal is in the group, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. The top four teams from the two groups will play in the semi-finals. Bangladesh has played the final only once in the previous four editions. That was in 2016.
Bangladesh lost 3-1 in the final against hosts India. India has been the champion in each of the four tournaments. Nepal has been the runner-up three times. So it is understood that Bangladesh is the third power here. Apart from Sabina Khatun, there is no senior player in the Bangladesh team. All the rest are age group footballers. However, coach Chhotan thinks that the condition of Bangladeshi footballers has improved with this,’In three years our players have become more experienced and matured. They have improved in every way.
Hopefully, the gap from India and Nepal has reduced to some extent.‘ Team captain Sabina Khatun said at the press conference,’Our players are under-16, Although they are 18 teams, they have played many international matches. As a result, their match temperament cannot be understated in any part.‘ Buff’s women’s wing tried to organize a women’s warm-up match before SAFF. The United Arab Emirates did not come through as promised. Therefore, Mahfuza Akhter Kiran, the chairman of BAF Women’s Wing, felt that Bangladesh was inspired in the two matches played against Malaysia.,’We played two matches against Malaysia. I did well in both matches.
Those two matches will serve as motivation for us in this tournament.‘ This is the first time that Buff’s technical director Paul Smalley is not going with the women’s team. This is happening for the first time since 2017. Because Paul is going to Sri Lanka tomorrow with SAAF under-17 team. Chotan’s commentary in this regard,’Sir is with us even if he is not gone. In 2016 I, Leetu and others managed the team.
We have experience, won’t be a problem.‘ Nepal’s altitude above sea level has always been a headache for visiting groups. Chhotan bans about this,’We are leaving tomorrow. After a week of practice it will become normal for our footballers.‘
Bangladesh match schedule ॥ September 7 (8pm) vs Maldives, 10 September (1.30 pm) vs Pakistan, September 13 (8pm) vs India.
Bangladesh team ॥ Goalkeeper: Rupana Chakma, Iti Rani and Sathi Biswas; Defender: Masura Parveen, Ankhi Khatun, Shamsunnahar (Sr.), Shiuli Azim, Nilufa Yasmin Nila, Bring me, Maria Manda, Monika Chakma, Shamsunnahar (Jr.), Sohagi Kisku, Swapna Rani and Rituparna Chakma; Forward: Sanjida Akhtar, Marzia Akter, Sabina Khatun, Krishna Rani Sarkar, Seerat Jahan Sapna, Tahura Khatun, Anuching Mogini and Sajeda Khatun.