SAFF champion Sirat Jahan Shopna retires at 22

Bangladesh women's team striker Sirat Jahan ShopnaFile photo

Sirat Jahan Shopna was one of the best players of Bangladesh’s SAFF Championship winning women’s team in last year’s September. She netted four goals in the tournament to finish as the second highest scorer in the competition.

This young, promising striker was expected to continue scoring goals for the national team for many years to come. But as things stand at the moment, that won’t be the case as at the age of just 22, Shopna has announced her retirement from football.

“I, on my own accord, am retiring from professional football,” Shopna posted on Facebook on Friday.

Sirat Jahan Shopna was an important member of the SAFF winning Bangladesh women's team

“I had the privilege of playing professional football for almost eight years. In my football career, I’ve achieved many things. I’m thankful for all of it and would like to thank Almighty Allah. Through football, I’ve crossed paths with many people. Knowingly or unknowingly, if I’ve hurt anyone, please forgive me and pray for me.”

Shopna’s retirement came out of the blue and has shocked everyone in the football fraternity. On Thursday, Shopna moved out of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) camp and returned to her home in Rangpur. Just one day later, she announced she is hanging up her boots.

Women’s team coach Golam Rabbani Choton is shocked by Shopna’s announcement. He told Prothom Alo, “Most probably, she announced her retirement out of frustration. We spoke with her, tried to make her reconsider. But it didn’t have any affect. She said, “Sir, what’s the point in playing anymore! Eight months have passed since the SAFF Championship, but we haven’t gotten any games. A franchise league was supposed to start, but there is no update on that as well.””

Sirat Jahan Shopna had recieved a grand reception in Rangpur after returning as SAFF champion
Moinul Islam

Rabbani also asked her if she was under any pressure from her family to quit football. But Shopna assured her that wasn’t the case, “I repeatedly asked her about this. She said, there is no pressure on her to get married. She is not saying goodbye to football under family pressure.”

Shopna was part of many successes of the country’s women’s football. Her football journey began with the 2011 Bangamata Football tournament. She took part in that tournament twice. She then got called up to the Under-16 women’s team.

She was part of the Bangladesh squad that won the AFC Under-14 regional competition in Nepal in 2015. She then played in the AFC U-16 Championship’s qualifier tournament in 2016. That same year, she debuted for the national team in the South Asia Games in Shillong-Guwahati.

She scored five goals in the SAFF Women’s Championship in 2017. In the U-18 SAFF Women’s Championship in 2018, she netted eight goals.