National Team - Lionesses ● Nov 30, 2023
Lionesses eye renewed triumph against resurgent Bangladesh
Rosnani Azman and Coach Karim at the pre-match press conference earlier today, 30 November 2023. Photo Credit: Bangladesh Football Federation
DHAKA, 30 NOVEMBER 2023 – Recalling the match six years ago, Rosnani Azman, who was then 20 years old, remembers the Lionesses’ strong start to the year. “Even though the other team was fast, we came up with a game plan that worked well. Our strategy successfully tired them out and enabled us to break through their defence. That was when the goals from our side started coming in,” she shared.
The then-18-year-old Raudhah Kamis stole the spotlight with a remarkable brace in the 8th and 47th minutes. Former Lioness Joey Cheng added her name to the scoresheet in the 38th minute. Notably, the Bangladeshi team fielded at the time consisted of only three experienced senior players with the tournament being as part of the preparation for their under-16 women’s team for the finals of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship in Thailand. Singapore went on to win 3-0.
Fast forward to the present, and Singapore’s victory has become a distant memory for Bangladesh. The team has come far since then, notably clinching the SAFF Women’s Championship last year for the first time by defeating five-time champion India, and Nepal.
Having faced former world champions Japan and Asian powerhouse Vietnam in this year’s Asian Games, standout players in the likes of midfield duo Maria Manda and Monika Chakma, as well as, skipper Sabina Khatun now lead the charge. Sabina, in particular, boasts the title of the country’s all-time top club goalscorer with an impressive 314 goals.
Now captain, Rosnani emphasizes the Lionesses’ need to stay humble and focused. “We know that they (Bangladesh) has grown a lot of stronger and has achieved many significant wins, but that does not mean we will back down. We will remain humble, and no matter what, we will give our best on the field.”
Head Coach Karim Bencherifa echoed similar sentiments in the pre-match conference, acknowledging Bangladesh’s rise despite the 12-place difference in rankings. “Though Bangladesh are ranked below us, they are a competitive team with great recent results. We saw their honourable participation in the Asian Games, and we know we have to be at our best to compete,” he asserts.
Captain Sabina Khatun and Head Coach Saiful Bari Titu at the pre-match press conference earlier today, 30 November 2023. Photo Credit: Bangladesh Football Federation
Underscoring the importance of both matches in the context of long-term objectives, especially for preparation for the SEA Games in 2025, Karim viewed them as crucial opportunities for the team’s progress. “It’s a work in progress. We have a young team with players as young as 15, and also players who have gained experience from playing with foreign clubs. I’m confident we will play a good match against Bangladesh.”
The message for the Lionesses was clear – underestimate no one, respect every opponent, and give nothing less than their best on the field.
The Singapore National Women’s Team is set to face the Bengal Tigresses in two friendly matches over four days at the Bir Shrestha Shaheed Shipahi Mustofa Kamal Stadium. The first match kicks off tomorrow at 6 pm (SGT), with the second match taking place next Monday, 4 December at 5 pm (SGT).
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