• Saturday, Feb 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 06:02 pm

Akhi Khatun: Bangladesh's Maldini in the making

  • Published at 07:22 pm December 19th, 2017
Akhi Khatun: Bangladesh's Maldini in the making
Akhi Khatun had been a frequent squad member of different youth national teams for more than a couple of years now but it took her quite a long time to get into the limelight, that too after switching her playing role from midfielder to defender. And her new found talent in midfield was on full display Tuesday as her brace guided Bangladesh to a 3-0 win over Bhutan in the Saff U-15 Women’s Championship 2017 at Kamalapur Stadium in Dhaka. The 14-year old, who hails from a “Tanti” family in Sirajganj, is the tallest member in the Bangladesh squad. And the versatile defender took little time to utilise her height in the Saff Championship as she opened the scoring with a glancing header. Akhi's second goal was also a treat to watch, converted via a top-notch flick in the second half. When queried as to which defender resembles Akhi's playing style, Bangladesh head coach Golam Rabbani Choton didn't hesitate to remember Italian great Paolo Maldini's name, not for the goals but for her ability to guide the back four, as well as delivering crucial balls into the midfield and beyond. The same question was asked to Akhi more than once but with no reply.

Also read: Bangladesh girls beat Bhutan, set up final clash with India

Akhi was born a year after legendary Azzurri defender Maldini retired from international football. However, even after being pointed out that her coach sees Maldini’s characteristics in her she refused to say anything, sporting a big smile instead. After a series of questions, Akhi finally admitted that it is not Maldini but Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez who is one of her favourite footballers of all time. Akhi started her career as a central midfielder and continued with the same role during the AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in September last year. The need for a tall and versatile defender in the squad though saw her role being shifted from midfield to defence.

Also read: Bangladesh girls off to flying start, thrash Nepal 6-0

"It's totally deserving for her to be adjudged the best player. Those were fantastic goals coming from a defender. She proved her worth and I believe she will deliver more in future," said Choton. Akhi, who reads in class nine, was extremely reticent at the post match press conference but managed to mention her parents for being supportive to her. Akhi has been at the centre of attention in the Saff U-15 Championship. After the pre-tournament presser last week, BFF's strategy and technical director Paul Smalley gave a gentle reminder to this correspondent, saying, “This girl is going to be the future of Bangladesh football.” Smalley had of course meant Akhi.
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail