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The little footballers of Bangladesh

In a country whose leaders discourage girls from participating in any kind of game there is a small female team which, game after game, is beating all its opponents, showing both skill and determination. The story of this under-15 women’s football team, led by Captain Maria Manda, a young Catholic of the Diocese of Mymensigh, was told by Sumon Corraya on AsiaNews. For the first time the young Bangladeshi girls won the under 15 SAFF (South Asia Football Federation) championship, beating India 1-0 on December 24 at the Dhaka stadium. The home team remained unbeaten, without conceding any goals throughout the tournament. After crushing Nepal 6-0 in the first game, they reached the final with victories over Bhutan and India. Maria Manda, a tireless centre-forward, comes from a remote village called Kolosindur. Her desire to become a football star is born from her wish to overcome poverty, which causes her family to struggle to make ends meet. She hopes in future to captain the national women’s team and asks for prayers to help her to achieve this. Fr Bipin Nokrek, a priest from Mymensingh, comments that the community is “proud of Maria Manda for her exceptional contribution to the country”.

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