Perhaps, we would be at a loss of words if are to describe the Bangladesh U-16 girls' football team's amazing winning run in the recent past.
And with the passage of time, the girls seemed to have made significant improvements after playing together for a couple of years now.
After qualifying for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2017 for the first time in September last year, the girls had approximately one year to prepare for the final event, scheduled to be held in Thailand this September.
Although there were no major international tournaments following their historic qualification, with the exception of the Saff Championship, they have been practising relentlessly, along with touring a number of Asian countries.
These girls previously shone with the U-14 team. Now, they are currently not only representing the U-16 side but are integral members of the senior team.
No doubt, these girls will represent the country in AFC’s U-19 and U-21 tournaments in future.
Head coach Golam Rabbani Choton, who has been guiding the girls from the beginning of their arrival to the grand stage, proudly termed them special not only because of their versatility but also for their praiseworthy physical fitness.
“The strength and stamina of the girls have improved significantly, compared to what it was during the qualifiers. For instance, the youngest member of the team, Tohura [Khatun] ran 2900m in 12 minutes, which is a miracle. They are now physically stronger than ever. They have also improved technically and tactically,” said Choton on Sunday.
The versatility of the players is another thing which separated the girls from the others. Choton used “total football” to describe the style of the team but it is more than that.
Captain Srimoti Krishna Rani Sarkar usually plays behind the central forward line but can play at any position in forward when needed.
Central defender Sheuli Azim can also play as a full-back, while the same can be said for left-back Shamsunnahar. Even winger Sanjida Khatun can also play as right-back.
Maria Manda and Ishrat Jahan Mousumi are strong presences in midfield. Mousumi usually plays as a defensive midfielder, providing support to the back-four while Maria takes responsibility of the midfield, distributing balls to the attackers.
Krishna not only provides the final ball but also keeps scoring while Sirat Jahan Shopna continuously threatens the opponent's goalkeeper.