Biratnagar: The prestigious SAFF Women’s Champions returns for its 5th installment on 12th March, 2019 in Biratnagar, Nepal. Bangladesh along with 5 other nations will be competing in the tournament to be crowned the champions of South Asia. SAFF Women Championship was last held in 2016 with India being the host nation. The tournament was scheduled to start in December last year but Sri Lanka pulled out at the last moment as the host and postponed to March 2019.
SAFF women’s championship 2016 was a fairy tale of a journey for Bangladeshi, knocking out Afghanistan, tying with India in the group stage and then decimating Maldives in the Semifinals. The tournament gave Bangladesh many firsts and showed everyone that hard work can overcome any hurdle. The tournament ended with Bangladesh becoming runners up after suffering a 3-1 loss to India in the finals. The young tigers had a lot of takeaways from the tournament. Sabina Khatun, Captain of Bangladesh Women National team, led the team from the front scoring 5 goals against the Afghans and scoring a hat-trick in the semis with Sirat Jahan Shopna closely following the goal tally (5 goals). The whole team played with their hearts out in the field and their good performance showed the same.
The whole Bangladesh team is preparing rigorously for the upcoming games, determined to bring back silverware for Bangladesh’s trophy cabinet. To keep the girls at their toes, BFF had flown all of them to Mandalay to train with the U-16 girls. On Wednesday morning, Bangladesh women’s national team had a practice session at the Mandalay Football Academy Ground, Myanmar. The players worked on different match related issues including passing, possession game, crossing and finishing during the one-and-a-half-hour session. Team spirit was high in the training grounds as everyone was enthusiastic to do well.
Bangladesh is drawn in group A with tough oppositions Bhutan and Nepal as Pakistan did not enter the competition. The first match is against Bhutan on 14th March. Bangladesh Team have had great success against their Bhutan counter parts winning all the last 3 encounters with a 9-0 victory in Cox’s Bazar, SAFF Championship, 2010. The next group match is against Nepal, the host nation on 16th. Nepal is the strongest team in the group with a ranking score of 108 and Bangladesh had 1 draw and four losses against Nepal. Bangladeshi tigers will have their work cut out in the group stage. They remain undaunted in the face of the challenge ahead and want to fight for the glory of their country.
Bangladesh Women Football team has seen considerable changes since the last SAFF championship. With Golam Rabbani Choton at the helm, many of the players from the original squad of 2016 SAFF championship are in the squad this year. The experience is balanced with many fresh faces which is giving the team a dynamic edge. Young stars like Tohura Khatun, Monika Chakma, Ishrat Jahan Ratna, Rupna Chakma and many more are looking forward to make their mark on the tournament. Sabina Khatun will lead this motivated team on the pitch on the 14th.
Bangladesh National Women Team flew out to Nepal in Sunday. A press conference held on Saturday briefed about the overall preparation about the tournament. Excitement and determination was seen on everyone’s faces. The tournament is a massive opportunity for Bangladesh to prove their worth in a grand stage. The women in green are all set to conquer SAFF Women Championship 2019 in the glorious month of Independence.