Lahore, 16 December: Sana Mehmood-led Pakistan snatched semi-final spot when they put up fine display to overwhelm Afghanistan 3-0 in their second Group-B match of first SAFF Women Football Championship at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on Thursday. Pakistan will now collide with India or Bangladesh in the semi-final.
Khalida Popal-led Afghans failed to put hurdles on Pakistan attacks and conceded three goals, one of them was scored by Robina Irfan’s daughter Shlyla Baloch.
Midfielder Malaika Noor landed the opener in the 21st minute when the girl from Young Rising Star hit the back of the net when she faked her way in for a spectacular goal. Balochistan United’s midfielder Shlyla Baloch consolidated the lead in the 40th minute. Pakistan led 2-0 at interval. Islamabad FA’s skipper Mejzgaan Orakzai, daughter of IFA President Dr. Fazal Ur Rehman, rounded off the tally 15 minutes from time.
It is fantastic triumphs for Pakistani females as before the departure to Cox’s Bazar. Kabul’s International Security Assistant Force (ISAF) headquarters hosted a match between Afghan team and a pick-up team of women from ISAF on 29 October 2010.
The Afghan team management, who requested the match, envisioned the exhibition game as an opportunity to practice against friendly international competition in preparation for SAFF Championship. When approached, ISAF members were eager to support the Afghan team. “We admire the courage, tenacity and fearlessness of these Afghan women,” said US Air Force Capt. Alexa Quandt, an ISAF women’s team member and event coordinator. “They are truly an inspiration with their perseverance and dedication.”
The Afghan women team, founded in 2004, played in third Pakistan National Women Championship in August 2007. Since then, the team has continued to seek new challenges to hone their skills and demonstrate their resolve to continue playing the game they love.“Afghans should be proud of their women’s football team,” said Brigadier General Chris Whitecross, the senior female officer in ISAF Communications. “This match is a great way for them to showcase their skills.”
Earlier, The Afghan team competed in the football tournament organized by Discover Football in Berlin from 6-13 July 2010. What would have been unthinkable just a few years ago has been made possible thanks to successful cooperation between German sport experts and the Afghan football association
Earlier in Group-A, Bangladesh were imperious in their 9-0 triumph, India dismissive in their 7-0 victory as both sides eased into the semifinals, even before what is now an academic group clash on Friday.
The Indian continued their rampaging form to thrash Sri Lanka 7-0 and book a berth in the semifinals.After hammering Bhutan 18-0 in the opener, India recorded their second straight victory to march into the last-four.
The rout started in the first half itself as India pumped in four goals to push their opponents to the back-foot.They never allowed Sri Lanka to settle in the match after that and added three more goals to their tally in the second half.
Sasmita Mallick was once again the star as she scored a superb hat-trick (18th, 30th and 45th minute), while Pinky bagged a fine brace (51st and 60th minute).Bala Devi (second minute) and Tababi Devi (49th minute) too got their name on the scoresheet by netting a goal each.
Bangladesh pulverize Bhutan 9-0 with striker Aungmra Ching Marma completed her hat-trick in the first half as she slotted in the 13th, 16th and 30th minutes. Sabina Khatoon scored a brace in 20th and 91st minutes. Suinu Pru Marma netted in 46th and 50th minutes while Farhana Khatan also joined the goal glut with goals in 41st and 76th minutes of the proceedings. Bangladesh will now face the India in their final group match on December 17. The result of the match will decide which team will be the group champion and runners-up respectively.
Friday (17 Dec) Fixtures: Sri Lanka vs Bhutan 11:05 AM , Bangladesh vs India 2:30 PM