Born into a conservative family in Rangamati, Monika Chakma has made her mark in the field of football internationally. She is the youngest of five sisters. On International Day of the Girl Child (October 11), we caught up with Monika to learn more about her journey and aspirations.
“I developed a keen interest in football from a young age. I played it with the boys in my area, but my father did not like it. Despite his reluctance, I continued playing the sport,” shares Monika.
Monika played in the Bangamata Gold Cup in 2011, and earned national attention after the Plan Under-15 tournament. She played in the Bangamata Gold Cup in 2012 and 2013 as well.
With her persistence and efforts, the midfielder succeeded in changing her father’s mind. “My father saw me at a match in Maghachari. He was impressed by the way I played and since then, he has been really supportive,” says Monika.
In 2014, following a trial in Rangamati, Monika was called up to play for the Bangladesh Women’s National U-14 Football Team. She went on to become a football sensation with her remarkable performance in the qualifying round of the 2017 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers.
Monika played a vital role in the tournament finals defeating the Chinese Taipei, Iran, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan and UAE teams in the qualifiers. In total, Bangladesh scored 26 goals in the competition, surrendering only twice.
Bangladesh defeated Mongolia in the semi-final of the Bangamata U-19 Women’s Gold Cup earlier this year. Monika scored a stunning goal in that match at Bangabandhu National Stadium minutes before the half-time whistle, which made everyone proud, especially her coach, Golam Rabbani Choton. Her wonder goal was featured as one of the top five moments that week in “FIFA Fans’ Favorite”. Monika is grateful to the Bangladesh Football Federation for giving her the opportunity to fulfil her dreams.
The passionate player aims is to represent Bangladesh in other international platforms, and take women’s football to remarkable heights.