In the ongoing AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 Bangladesh has been the sole representation from the South Asian zone and it’s truly remarkable feat from the South Asian nation. Bangladesh young girls coached by Golam Rabbani Choton will be doing something remarkable beyond participation in the top Futsal competition of Asia. Bangladesh is clubbed in Group B alongside Malaysia, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei.
In their first two games, the Bengal tigresses have gone down 7-1 against a strong Malaysia and 7-0 against South-Asian powerhouse Vietnam. Conceding 14 goals in two games, scoring just 1 is hard to plot on the graph against learning curve. Defeats are never glorious, they were never meant to be. The vanquished are never hailed as Heroes.No one remembers the defeated, certainly not ones decimated. But stats are just number that cannot measure the struggle and impediment these young girls have encountered to play in the Finale.
Fighting poverty, social prejudices, bare-bone infrastructure for training to representing Bangladesh on an International platform against Asian teams with strong futsal culture is no mere feat. There could be thousands of reasons to give up or not send a team to avoid the embarrassment of heavy defeats. But if there was one reason, to arrive and fight irrespective of the results, Bangladesh Football Federation and the young girls should be given due credit for not shying away.
South Asian teams like Nepal, India, Maldives have better infrastructure for women’s football but did not send their teams for the qualification.
Bangladesh futsal squad players are drawn from the 11-a-side team that featured in the AFC U-16 Championships 2017, also coached by Choton, with 24-year-old Sabina Katun being the only senior player.
Adapting from regular football to fast-paced indoor Futsal is not easy, not easy for 15-year-olds to adapt to unfamiliar tactics, understand switching of positions while attacking or falling back while defending. But the young girls have tried, tried their heart out. Yes, in the process there have been ponderous defeats but they deserve the kudos for being in this competition, fighting every minute as the clock runs down for their Nation.