Bangladesh eying Banagamata Women’s U-19 Int’l Football title

Dhaka – Hosts Bangladesh are confident about winning the first edition of Bangamata Women’s U-19 International Gold Cup Football tournament beginning Monday.

Six nations are taking part in the competition which will be played at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS).

Bangladesh will take on United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the opening match at 6pm. The hosts will play against Kyrgyzstan on April 26 in the remaining group match.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is expected to inaugurate the 12-day meet named after Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnessa Mujib.

The teams have been divided into two groups. Group A consists of Mongolia, Tajikistan and Laos while Group B comprises UAE, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.

Two top teams from each group will play in the semifinals. Group A champions will play Group B runners-up on April 29 while Group B champions will face Group A runners-up on April 30 at the same venue.

The final is scheduled for May 3.

In a pre-meet press conference at the BFF House on Saturday, Bangladesh Head Coach Golam Rabbani Choton appeared confident about his team.

“Our team made some mistakes in the SAFF Women’s Championship but they’re trying to overcome these lapses,” he said. “The girls are well prepared to take the challenge.”

Bangladesh captain Mishrat Jahan Moushumi concurred. “This time we are well- prepared to win the title, named after the mother of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”

She said her team members “are fit”. “We’ve gathered enough experience from the previous tournament. Now, we’ll try to play good football in every match,” she said. “We’ve been preparing with victory in our mind.”

Bangladesh Football Federation’s women wing Chairman and FIFA Council Member Mahfuza Akter Kiron, BFF General Secretary Md Abu Nayeem Shohag, team Manager Amirul Islam Babu, Vice-Captain Maria Manda and BFF Technical and Strategic Director Paul Thomas Smalley were also present at the media conference.

Of the five foreign teams, Tajikistan, UAE and Mongolia are already in Dhaka. Laos are scheduled to arrive Saturday evening while Kyrgyzstan will arrive on Sunday morning.

BFF arranged two practice venues – Abahani ground in Dhanmondi and BNS – for the participating teams. Bangladesh and Mongolia had their practice sessions at BNS while Tajikistan and UAE had theirs at Abahani Club ground.

BFF and K-Sports are jointly organising Bangamata U-19 Women’s International Gold Cup 2019 to celebrate Fazilatunnesa Mujib’s life and ideals. It will be the first competitive tournament for women arranged by BFF after 2004.

The organisers have already released the event’s theme song and video. A trophy unveiling ceremony will be held at Hotel Intercontinental on Sunday. The tickets are expected to go on sale from Monday at BNS but their prices are yet to be announced.

Bangladesh squad: Rupna Chakma, Mahamuda Akter, Yeamin Akter, Masura Pervin, Mossammot Akhi Khatun, Mossammot Nargis Khatun, Sheuli Azim, Misrat Jahan Mousumi (C), Shamsunnahar, Nilufar Yeasmin Nila, Nazma Akter, Maria Manda (VC), Monika Chakma, Israt Jahan Ratna, Marzia, Mossamot Rajia Khatun, Sanjida Akter, Sirat Jahan Shopna, Krishna Rani Sarker, Shamsunnahar, Sajeda Khatun, Tohura Khatun, and Mossamot Sultana.UNB