Dhaka: Aged only 15, just how good is Bangladesh centre back Akhi Khatun; one may ask. Well, how about this for an answer? She can play with girls 3 years older than her and still beat them to the best player’s award.
Akhi was one of Bangladesh’s key players en route winning the maiden SAFF U18 Women’s Championship held in Bhutan. So much so that she was named the player of the tournament ahead of any midfielder or forward.
In the modern game that favours the attackers so much, winning the award of the best player as a defender is a huge achievement in itself. But that’s not all, she has done it playing at the U18 age group while her own age is 15.
What’s more is that it is not her first time achieving this feat. Akhi was also named the player of the tournament when she helped Bangladesh win the maiden SAFF U15 Women’s Championship last December.
Akhi is an epitome of consistency. Throughout the SAFF U18 Women’s Championship, she was never seen to misjudge any aerial ball. Her positioning sense is brilliant, her tackles are clean and crisp and she can send chill through the opponent’s spine with just her presence on the field.
The versatile defender also boasts a unique capability. She can initiate an attack in the blink of an eye with precisely lobbed through balls to either flank from the deep. Her height also helps in aerial duels.
Akhi also has great adapting capability. She can form formidable defending partnership whomever she plays with. In the case of the SAFF U18 Women’s Championship, it was Masura Parvin who scored the winning goal in the final against Nepal.
Minutes after her goal, the Nepalese forwards constructed a dangerous attack which created a chaos in the Bangladeshi box. But the ever-present Akhi saved Bangladesh from the danger at the cost of her eyebrow. She got badly hit on the side of the eye and went down immediately. But as strong as she is, Akhi returned to the pitch after a very short first aid to see Bangladesh through the finish line. The scar on her brow is nothing but a fitting battle scar for a true champion!
Born in a weaver’s family in the village of Shahzadpur Patkhola of Northern Bangladesh’s Sirajganj district, Akhi came to the mainstream of women’s football through the Bangamata Gold Cup Football Tournament back in 2014. In that tournament, he played for Shahzadpur Ibrahim Girls’ School but caught the eyes of the scouts and she was enrolled in the BKSP.
Standing at 5’6”, Akhi showed her defending capabilities to get a call to play for Bangladesh in the AFC U14 Women’s Regional Championship held in Tajikistan back in 2015 where she helped Bangladesh claim the championship.
That was only the beginning for the towering defender and the daughter of weaver Akhtar Hossain and thread maker Nasima Begum has not looked back since.
She has been an integral part of all of Bangladesh’s age group teams and has so far delivered brilliantly whenever she has been asked to do so.
A student of class 9 at the BKSP, Akhi dreams of taking Bangladesh to new heights in the international arena and all of Bangladesh believes she can. After all, she literally owns 2 boots of gold!
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