SAFF U-17 Women's football: India square off against hosts Bangladesh

Dhaka (Bangladesh), March 23 (IANS) Looking for their second straight win, India will take on hosts Bangladesh in the 2023 SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship at the BSSS Mostafa Kamal Stadium here on Friday.

India started their campaign with a solid 4-1 victory over Nepal on Monday, with Shilji Shaji netting a hat-trick and Pooja adding another.

“We are happy to have won the first match because it’s the first time our players are participating in a big competition like this,” said India head coach Priya P.V. “We are playing on an artificial pitch here which is different from the grounds we have been practising on. The girls performed well, so I’m very happy with that.”

Nevertheless, Priya admitted that there’s a lot of room for improvement in the midfield. “We believe if we focus a little more in the midfield and coordinate better, we will be able to do well going forward.”

India’s opponents Bangladesh have a win and a loss under their belt in the tournament so far. After thrashing Bhutan 8-1 on Monday, the hosts were blanked 0-3 by the invited side Russia on Wednesday. Priya, who watched both their games closely, said, “Bangladesh look like a very good team. They scored eight in their first game, and even against Russia, they were good defensively and were successful in blocking most of their attacks.

“They will feel confident at home and their experience of playing on the artificial pitch will be an advantage for them,” she added.

After the Bangladesh contest, India will be up against Bhutan (March 26) and Russia (March 28) in the SAFF U-17 Women’s Championship. The team that finishes top of the standings after the end of the round-robin stage will be crowned champions.

–IANS

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