Bangladesh will take on India in the final of the six-nation SAFF Under-15 Women’s Championship at Changlimithan Stadium in Thimphu, Bhutan today (Saturday).
The final of the meet’s second edition will begin at 7pm Bangladesh time with the Bangladesh girls looking to defend the title while second-time finalist India take revenge of their 0-1 loss at Birshrestha Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Dhaka in December 2017, reports UNB.
Bangladesh team head coach Golam Rabbani Choton expressed the hope that his girls will play their natural game as they played for victories in the last three matches with the strength gained from seven-month training ahead of the tournament.
“We set our target before coming to play the tournament. We’ll give our best effort to win the championship. We’ll play our natural game in the final as played in the last three matches and did practice for the last seven months,” the coach said at a pre-final conference on Friday.
Bangladesh captain Maria Manda said, “We all are ready and promise to give our best effort as team to win the final against India. We’ll try to put pressure from the beginning to score as early as possible. Though India are a strong opponent having some experience players, our target is to win the final and take the trophy for the nation once again.”
Striker Tohura Khatun, who scored in all three matches in this tournament, wants to fire the net in the final. She scored four [2-1-1] goals in the last three games. “It’s my dream to clinch the championship 2018. I want to score early in the final as I did in every match in this tournament. We all will give our hundred percent to win the match against India,” Tohura said.
Bangladesh vice-captain and defender Akhi Khatun, goalkeeper Mahmuda Akhter, assistant coach Sabina and team manager Amirul Islam also spoke on the occasion.
Bangladesh stormed the final with all-win record and keeping their post intact as they got 5-0 victory against hosts Bhutan in the second semifinal after emerging Group B champions outplaying Nepal by 3-0 goals after a stunning start of 14-0 win against Pakistan.
India reached the final, having a 2-1 win against Nepal in the first semifinal being Group A champions beating Bhutan by 1-0 goal after an emphatic 12-0 win against Sri Lanka.
If Bangladesh can defend this edition title without conceding any goal, that will be their second successive similar success in the event as they lifted the maiden edition trophy at home without conceding any goal.
In the last edition, Bangladesh beat India twice -- 1-0 in the final and by 3-0 in the group stage -- where Bhutan by and Nepal conceded 3-0 and 6-0 goals loss.
Meanwhile, the third place-deciding match between two losing semifinalists -- Nepal and Bhutan -- will also be held at 4 pm at the same venue on Saturday.