It'll be like a final: Choton
“Krishna, go forward! Maria, fall back! Put the ball on Anuching's head! Give me the ball,” the girls of the Bangladesh under-16 women's national team shouted during yesterday's training session on the astro-turf adjacent to the headquarters of the Bangladesh Football Federation.
The shouting may have given off the impression that there was a practice match taking place ahead of Saturday's crucial match against Chinese Taipei in the AFC U-16 Women's Championship Qualifiers, but the fact is that the girls -- who were all in the playing eleven against Kyrgyzstan -- were playing handball, only finishing with their heads or legs.
It was a recovery session for the members of U-16 team and it seemed the girls enjoyed the game on the rain-soaked turf as it came as a bit of a relief after playing three tough matches.
However, the scenario was reversed for the bench players as they underwent full-swing training session under coach Golam Rabbani Choton.
The girls were shielded from the media to avoid 'uncomfortable situation among the girls', but it was clear that the girls were in good spirits.
“All the players are really happy and upbeat after three successive wins,” said Choton after training, adding that neither he nor his girls were worried about the tie against Chinese Taipei.
“I watched all three of Chinese Taipei's matches and I must respect them. But we are no less than favourites, especially with the way the girls played in last three matches.
“Playing against Chinese Taipei is not any pressure for the girls as they played at the same tempo in the past three matches. I believe the girls will carry over their performances to the next match. Chinese Taipei is also a good team and I think the match will be very competitive and like a final,” Choton said evaluating his opponents, who were tipped as the second best team in Group C after Iran.
The coach believes that his charges have gained the qualities they need to face Chinese Taipei from the past matches and that they will take the field with hopes of an outright victory.
Though Bangladesh initially had a problem with the striking line-up -- which kept misfiring in the first match -- they recovered well in the second match to find the target at regular intervals before the players from every position fired on all cylinders in the third match as a forward, winger, midfielder and defender found the back of the net against Kyrgyzstan and coach Choton believes it is a positive sign ahead of his charges' unofficial final match against Chinese Taipei.