Much like all other athletes in the country, women’s football team captain Sabina Khatun has been confined to her home after the Tricotex Women’s Football League was suspended on March 16 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The prolific striker is now thinking only of health, instead of the sport she loves.
“All of our family members are staying at home in Satkhira. Coronavirus is now an epidemic and it is a serious issue for everyone. At the moment, I’m not thinking of the league because you saw what is happening around the world. Health is most important for us,” Sabina told The Daily Star over phone from Satkhira yesterday.
“I would like to tell everyone to stay at home to avoid contracting the virus and follow all precautionary measures to keep you and your family members safe,” advised the national striker, who struck 15 goals — including four hattricks — in five matches of the Tricotex Women’s Football League, which resumed after seven years in February this year with the participation of seven teams.
“I believe suspending the league was a good decision because all players are now staying at their respective homes and avoiding public gathering, which we had faced during training and while playing the match at the stadium,” said Sabina, adding that Bashundhara Club extended the suspension of the training up to March 31 from March 24.
Sabina is playing for Bashundara Kings, who have so far roped in 16 national players to form a formidable squad and there are seemingly no opponents to put up any challenge. After a five-match winning run, Bashundhara Kings looked on course to clinch the title in their debut appearance and captain Sabina said they were the team to beat in the league.
“You know Bashundhara Kings formed a strong squad by signing up the best players of the country as they want to become champions. It is true that other teams of the league are weak. But what we want is the continuation of the league, which resumed after a long gap. I hope the clubs that have been playing in the Bangladesh Premier League will take part in the Women’s League and it will become competitive from next season,” said Sabina.
“No doubt, the revival of the women’s league is helping the national players financially because Bashundhara Kings paid handsome money to the players. Besides, Bashundhara players have been accommodated in a good environment with good facilities, including training and standard food. It is good to see that some national players are benefiting financially through the women’s league,” said Sabina, who was reportedly paid Tk 5 lakh for the season.
The 26-year-old footballer believes that they have been training less as part of Bashundhara Kings than they did when they were part of the national team, but the training is sufficient to produce good results at the club level.
“The training is not like the national team but we have been training as much as we need at the club level and I think it is good enough for us,” said Sabina.
“There are many known and unknown players in the squads of the opponents, but both types came to me during the match for my blessing. They are not yet matured enough, so they did not ask for football tips, but I felt their excitement after watching us,” said a smiling Sabina, who is the face of Bangladesh women’s football as she has also played domestic competitions in India and Maldives.