Debayan Mukherjee

A large posse of local journalists and photographers made ‘light’ of the drizzle – caused by the side effects of cyclone HudHud which has pounded the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha – as the India U-16 Women’s National Team arrived at their team hotel in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Monday afternoon (October 13, 2014) for their AFC U-16 Women’s Championship (Qualifiers).

India U-16 National Team girls and support staff on arrival in Dhaka
It looked like skies would open up just at the time of the U-16 girls’ arrival but that proved to be no deterrent for the local scribes as well as the shutterbugs who waited patiently in front of the team hotel, while the team bus ferrying them from the airport to the hotel was fighting another fruitless war with ‘The Dhaka traffic’ in peak hours.

The team reached an hour late from their scheduled arrival time. “It is expected during this time of the day in Dhaka,” a journalist from a vernacular daily informed

India are in Group B along with United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Iran, and hosts Bangladesh. The U-16 colts’ play first match against Iran on October 17, 2014) followed by Bangladesh two days later. United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan will wait for them next on October 21 and 23 respectively.

Only one team will make the cut from each of the four groups in the qualifying stage with the top four teams of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in China last year — Japan, DPR Korea, China PR and Thailand – are already in the eight-nation Finals.

“It is never easy to finish best among five teams in a group,” Head Coach of the team Maymol Rocky told minutes after checking in the team hotel.

“When you have top teams like Jordan and UAE in your group you know that you have to put your best foot forward.

“I am happy with the 45-day camp in Gandhinagar and the girls are raring to go. This is their first real taste of international competition,” the coach from Goa added.

Most of these 23 girls who make the U-16 National Team were part of the winning team in the AFC U-14 Girls Regional Championship 2013 for the South and Central region. “They have played against Iran and we won the match 6-1,” Maymol informed.

“But of course, this is a different ball game. The play field is so much bigger and not concentrated on South and Central region only.”

All the games will take place at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka. India will start practicing from tomorrow (October 14, 2014).


GOALKEEPERS: Subha Darshini Patra (Odisha), Shreya Hooda (Haryana), Linthoingambi Devi Maibam (Manipur)

DEFENDERS: Thahenbi Devi Maharabam (Manipur), Eva Panna (Odisha), JabamaniTudu (Odisha), Sasmita Behera (Odisha), Scindia Veganand Saundatikar (Goa), Karen Kenneth Pais (Mumbai), Amrita Kumari (Bihar)

MIDFIELDERS: Premi Chiru Manipur), Kashmina (Manipur), Nisha (Haryana), Lifa Gama (Goa), Anline Sharmila Fernandes (Goa), Srijana Tamang (Odisha), Atisha Pratap Singh (Delhi), Mansi Vakharia (Ahmedabad)

FORWARDS: Sushmita Bardhan (West Bengal), Daya Devi Heigrujam (Manipur), Roja Devi Asem (Manipur), Anushka Samuel (Delhi), Adhithi Rajagopal (Tamil Nadu)

HEAD COACH: Maymol Rocky(Goa)