Bangladesh is set to start its journey in women’s hockey through the Women’s (U-21) Junior AHF Cup, scheduled for September 9 to 15 in Singapore, with the hope of producing good results.
The team will leave for Singapore on Wednesday morning.
This will be the first international tournament for Bangladesh women, who just started playing the game during the 2018 Bangladesh Youth Games. The Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF), in association with the Sports Directorate, brought these girls under a three-month training programme ahead of the Women’s Junior AHF Cup.
The game’s local governing body also appointed veteran Indian coach Ajay Kumar Bansal as advisory coach for two weeks while arranging six preparation matches against the academy side of Sports Authority of India last month. The home side suffered heavy defeats in all six matches, conceding 32 goals while scoring only. The 18-member final squad was announced yesterday.
“When I came here, I thought these girls would be novice but I see different stuff they put against the Indian side. They have really learned a lot of new things in the last three months and I hope they will play well in the Junior AHF Cup,” Bansal said at a press conference at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium yesterday.
“I believe the team will play well after the six preparation matches against the Indian academy side because now they know how to play against a good side,” said Bansal, a former head coach of Indian women’s team.
“Even though we’ve never played against them, we believe all the opponents are strong. However, we believe we can show some good performance and return home with at least one win,” captain Ritu Khanom said.
BHF general secretary Mominul Haque Shaeed termed the start of women’s hockey team’s journey as a milestone for hockey federation.
“It is a memorable day for Bangladesh hockey because the official journey starts today. One day we will succeed with these girls as the country’s sports is going forward in the presence of female athletes,” said Shaeed.
Following the withdrawal of Nepal and Kazakhstan, two pools were merged into one group featuring Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh. The champion and runners-up teams will join China, Japan, Korea, India, Malaysia and Thailand for Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2020.