Golam Rabbani Choton, who has been involved with Bangladesh women’s football for a decade now, has picked his top five matches for Dhaka Tribune
Be it for a lack of competitions or footballers, the senior women’s side have not been able to bring success for the country. Rather, it is the different national age-level teams, especially the U-16 side, who have brought unprecedented glory for the nation in recent years. Golam Rabbani Choton, who has been involved with Bangladesh women’s football for a decade now, has picked his top five matches for Dhaka Tribune.
Australia 2-2 Bangladesh (Thailand, 2019)
Bangladesh girls went through an uphill task to earn their first ever competition point in the finals of the AFC U-16 Championship. It arrived in their last group stage fixture against a strong Australia on September 21. Three unusual changes were made in the starting XI and it worked. A long-range strike by Tohura Khatun stunned the junior Matildas in the 21st minute. The lead was maintained until 77 minutes before Tohura struck again within a minute. The 80th-minute equalizer decided the fate of the game but the performance became Choton’s “most favorite”.
Australia 3-2 Bangladesh (Thailand, 2017)
The first meeting against Australia in Bangladesh’s debut appearance in the AFC U-16 Championship was also an unforgettable one. Choton’s side were reduced to 10 men as captain Srimoti Krishna Rani Sarkar was sent off at the half-hour mark when they were trailing 1-0. Shamsunnahar converted a penalty before the break as the fighting spirit continued. Monika Chakma surprised the junior Matildas as Bangladesh took a 2-1 lead in the 72nd minute but could not hold on for much longer. On September 17, 2017, the never-give-up attitude of the girls gave the nation sanguine hopes for the future.
Myanmar 0-1 Bangladesh (Myanmar, 2019)
Myanmar is not a great place for the visiting side when they face the home team but Bangladesh beat their neighbor 1-0 in emphatic passion on March 1, 2019. Thus, Bangladesh girls qualified for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship for the second time after thrashing Philippines 10-0 in the opening group phase match of the second qualifying round, with a game to spare. Monika netted the all-important goal directly from a curved corner after the break while defender Akhi Khatun and Co did the rest of the job.
Bangladesh 4-2 Chinese Taipei (Dhaka, 2016)
It was Bangladesh’s fourth consecutive victory that secured their maiden berth in the finals of the AFC U-16 Championship with a game in hand. The Bengal girls needed a win on September 3 against Chinese Taipei, who also won all their previous three matches. Defender Shamsunnahar’s brace gave the host a 2-1 lead at the break before Krishna and Marzia Khatun added two more later to write history.
Bangladesh 4-0 India (Tajikistan, 2016)
Bangladesh beat India twice to lift the Saff U-15 Championship the following year but both the wins were surpassed by their dominating win in the final of the AFC U-14 Regional Championship 2016 in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on May 1, 2016. Tohura scored a brilliant hat-trick, netting in the 1st, 51st and 63rd minute, while Anuching Marma bagged the other in the 30th minute to clinch back-to-back titles. They earlier thrashed Nepal and host Tajikistan 9-0 each to fly into the final.