The tall centre back was perhaps one of Bangladesh’s most important members of the Saff U-15 Championship. Resembling the defensive characteristics of Italian great Paolo Maldini, Akhi also chipped in with two vital goals during their second group stage match against Bhutan.
She was a reliable presence in front of the goalkeeper, shielding the defence admirably in the face of opposition attacks. That Bangladesh did not concede a single goal in the tournament is largely down to Akhi’s brilliance.
The 14-year old has been a frequent squad member of different youth teams for more than a couple of years now but she finally came to prominence in the recently concluded regional competition. She hails from a “Tanti” family in Sirajganj and is the tallest member of the Bangladesh squad.
Akhi though started her career as a midfielder, very much in the mould of Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez. Akhi, who reads in class nine, received glowing praise from BFF’s strategy and technical director Paul Smalley, who told Dhaka Tribune, “This girl is going to be the future of Bangladesh.” She is not only comfortable with the ball but is also a good passer.