Bangladesh Women’s hockey team returned home recently ending their six-nation Women’s Juniors (U-21) AHF Cup Hockey Qualifiers held in Singapore from 9 to 15 September .
Debutants Bangladesh marked the campaign with an inspirational achievement as they claimed their first win in an international match on September 11 beating upper-ranked Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals in their 2nd match there.
In their other matches, Bangladesh conceded a 0-3 goals defeat against hosts Singapore, 0-1 goal defeat against Hong Kong China, 0-6 goals defeat against Uzbekistan and 2-4 goals defeat against Chinese Taipei.
CEO of Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Tayeb Ikram appreciated Bangladesh women’s hockey team for their overall performances in the competition.
Tayeb Ikram said, “I hope Bangladesh women’s hockey team will emerge as the Asian giants in the near future.”
General Secretary of Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) AKM Mominul Haque Sayeed also believed that the historic win against Sri Lanka will inspire Bangladesh hockey in future.
Bangladesh Hockey Federation (BHF) was founded in 1972 while country’s first hockey stadium -- Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium was built in Dhaka in1987.
Bangladesh men’s hockey team started their journey in international hockey participating in the 1st Junior World Cup for Asia/Oceania zone qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur in 1977 while the recent-concluded Women’s Juniors (U-21) AHF Cup Hockey Qualifiers was the first international tournament for Bangladesh women’s hockey team.
The Bangladeshi girls got just three-months training programme ahead of the meet.
During the training programme, they played a 6-match series against a Indian women’s hockey team named Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) National Academy Women’s Hockey at Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium from 22 to 28 August, under supervision part-time Advisory Indian coach of Bangladesh Women’s Hockey Team Ajay Kumar Bansal.
They lost all 6 matches against the team from India, a traditional powerhouse in the game,
Bangladesh Hockey Federation sent a 22-member final squad of the Women’s Hockey team, comprising 18 booters and 4 officials for the historical international competition on 11 September.
However, Bangladesh women’s team hockey assistant coach Hedayatul Islam Rajib believed that despite suffering four defeats against four upper-ranked teams, the Bangladeshi girls have proved their abilities in the Women’s Juniors (U-21) AHF Cup Hockey meet held in Singapore.
“I believe that our girls have proved their abilities in the tournament in Singapore. It was our first participation in any international events and we wrote a new record beating Singapore in our 2nd international match. I am impressed,” Rajib said to UNB.
When asked about their overall performances there, the assistant coach replied, “Our girls played well in all the matches. We could bag another win beating Hong Kong China, but unfortunately we missed some good chances. Also, we faced some controversial refereeing in that match. I think we performed well as the debutants.”
Bangladesh girls are now enjoying their vacations and are expected to join the camp next month.
About their next plan, Rajib said, “The federation will decide our next plans. The girls will join camp next month and we will continue our training sessions.”
Earlier, Bangladesh Women’s Hockey team under the banner of Dhaka Eleven played a 3-match series against Kolkata Warriors at the Maulana Bhashani National Stadium here in November last year.
The hosts Bangladeshi side won the series beating touring Kolkata Warriors by 2-1.
Dhaka Eleven defeated Kolkata Warriors by 2-0 goals in the 1st match, 3-0 goals in the 2nd match while conceded a 0-1 goal defeat in the 3rd and last match.
This was the first hockey series for Bangladesh women against any foreign team.
The Bangladesh women's hockey players earlier played some local hockey matches in the 70’s before beingabruptly coming to a halt from the Eighties. Now a new generation is here to pick up where the first generation left off.