Unlike the senior team, the young footballers of Bangladesh rarely fail to meet the country's expectation when they get the chance to perform in the international stage.
They never disappoint to improve when given the opportunity.
The performance graph of the current U-16 girls and boys’ team is a case in example.
The last time the senior side won the regional Saff Championship title was 14 years ago while the youth team clinched the title convincingly in 2015.
The boys were at Sylhet BKSP academy for a few months but the country's football governing body failed to keep the champion boys on track as the academy activities were stopped suddenly.
The boys then returned to their home.
Bangladesh put up a brave and promising display in the recently concluded AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers where they lost by only 2-0 against group champion Yemen but managed to beat host Qatar 2-0 in the second match on Sunday.
Five key players – Foysal Ahmed Fahim, Dipok Roy, Arafat, Minhajul Sadhin and Emon - in the squad were part of BFF's Sylhet BKSP project.
Left-winger Fahim, who scored seven goals in four matches in the Saff U-15 Championship in Nepal a few days ago, was one of the best performers in Qatar, scoring the winning goal against the home side while central midfielder Dipok netted the other.
Sadhin looked after the other side of the wing.
Captain Yeasin Arafat partnered with Sanwar Hossain Lalmia to lead the back-four which also includes full-backs Jehad Hossain and Runi Haider.
Akkas and Akash controlled the midfield while Miraj Molla and Dipok played as centre forwards.
Most of the players in the squad played regularly for different clubs in the Pioneer League.
Fahim, Arafat and Emon played for Arambagh and also in the Mokh Cup together.
Hence, their understanding helped the side a great deal.
Nine players came from the Super Mokh Cup squad - Miraj, five from BKSP including Akkas, three from the National Sports Council-BFF talent hunt programme, three from Jessore's Shamsul Huda Academy.
"These boys are proof that we also have great talents. The girls are also a big example as they are now competing in the world level. The U-16 boys have the potential but no training. Keeping them in the game is the main thing," said BFF's coaches' education co-coordinator Bayezid Alam Zubayer Nipu Monday.
Nipu was the technical director of BFF before Paul Smalley took over.
What They Said
Yeasin Arafat, captain and centre-back
After we left Sylhet's BKSP academy I started practising myself at my home. After that I got another call from the BFF during the trial of Mokh Cup. I got selected for the final squad and was given the captaincy of the U-12 national team. I also went to Mokh Cup in the following edition where we became plate champion. I played for Arambagh Football Academy in the Pioneer League in 2015 where we finished champion. Fahim and Emon were also in our team. We have been playing together for a long time.
Foysal Ahmed Fahim, left-winger
I was in the Sylhet BKSP academy but later went back to my home in Sirajganj when the project stopped. I was in the Mokh Cup team but couldn't score any goals. I rediscovered myself this year and scored seven goals from four matches. My dream is big which is to improve my performance everyday. I want to play more matches and get a place in the national team as soon as possible.
Mostofa Anwar Parvez, head coach
The AFC tournament was a different stage compared to the Saff campaign. The experience we gained from Nepal (Saff U-15 Championship), we wanted to implement it in Qatar and the continuation was there. If these boys continue their practice with long-term training camp they will be the future stars of the national team. I heard that the BFF is trying to arrange long-term camp for the boys. There are many talented players in the team like Fahim, Miraj, Arafat, Rabbi and Akkas. From Mokh Cup to AFC U-16, Fahim has improved his performance in every tournament.
Kazi Salahuddin, president, BFF
It was very encouraging performance from the boys. They just beat a team who is preparing for the 2022 World Cup. These U-16 boys will be aged 21-22 by that time. They are the future of the national team. There is already an existing three-year programme. Starting from next month, we plan to keep them in continuous practice for the next three years.