Bangamata U19 Women’s Int’l Gold Cup: Inception of a new odyssey

Dhaka: The first ever Bangamata U19 Women’s International Gold Cup 2019 is knocking on the door.

Celebrating Fazilatunnesa Mujib’s life and ideals, the BFF and K-Sports are organizing the first ever Bangamata U19 Women’s International Gold Cup 2019 from April 22 to May 3.

Six nations will compete for glory in this prestigious tournament which is expected to set a new milestone as Bangladesh women’s football marches forward. The tournament signifies women’s empowerment and looks forward to break barriers.

Speaking at the draw, BFF president Kazi Salahuddin, said, “In this day and age it is very difficult to organize international invitational tournaments due to busy FIFA schedules. Yet we are continuing with the Bangabandhu Gold Cup; and the Bangamata Gold Cup will be a new addition to our calendar. The Bangamata Gold Cup will be held early each year and the Bangabandhu Gold Cup will be held later in the year.”

“This tournament is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. And we are hopeful that it will continue to serve as a platform for the development of women’s football in Bangladesh,” said Salahuddin.

The Red and Greens will be up against UAE and Kyrgyzstan in group B while Mongolia, Tajikistan and Laos will fight it out in Group A for a place in the semis. All the matches will be played at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka. The federation and K-Sports have taken necessary measures for the fans to enjoy a top-notch international tournament.

The U19 girls are pumped up to deliver a grand performance in front of the home crowd. The players are going through daily practice sessions, working on their spot kicks, passing and dribbling. Their rigorous training regime resumed a month back after a week of recovery time following two draining international tournaments away from home.

The Bengal girls have already faced UAE, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan but Laos and Mongolia are unknown opponents. However, the players are not worried about their opponents. Head coach Golam Rabbani Choton has confidence in his wards to play to their strength and squeeze out results even from difficult matches.

As of now, there is no injury in the team and everyone is excited to give their best.

Akhi Khatun, the talented centre-back, said, “We want to be best prepared for whatever is thrown at us. Everyone is training hard. We’ll go into the tournament with everything we have.” While commenting on the current team, she also added that it is the best possible combination of experience and talented youth.

Head coach Choton is working closely with the players to cater to their individual needs so that they can overcome problems and go into the tournament at the top of their game. He pointed out that the seniors need to lead with confidence and the fresh legs will be there to provide the flair. Choton and his deputy, Litu, are feeling no pressure as the team spirit is high and the girls are ready to set the pitch on fire once more.

However, Bangladesh are keeping their feet on the ground even though they are considered the favorites. The team is solely focused on delivering what they have learnt so far and especially over the past few weeks so that they can give the home crowd something to cheer about. The youngsters are keen to take the challenge head on and prove their worth once more.

Meanwhile, football lovers are also eagerly waiting for the tournament to begin. Everyone is hopeful that this tournament will mark a new chapter towards development of women’s football.

The BFF arranged the first competitive tournament for women back in 2004. The Bangamata Primary School Gold Cup was introduced after that to establish a proper infrastructure and create a smooth pipeline for young female. It began with direct support from the Primary and Mass Education Department of the government. The tournament, probably the largest football event in the world in terms of participating schools and players, has since provided Bangladesh football with new talents every year.

Now, with the inception of an international women’s tournament, the BFF believes that Bangladesh will begin to have an even bigger presence in the international arena.

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