Meet Bangladesh's ground-breaking feminine coach who's 'married to football'

27 Jun 2020 11:25 AM
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Few Bangladeshis would quit a safe, public-sector job with perks and a pension to become full-time football coach, specifically not a girl in the deeply conservative nation.

But Mirona, Bangladesh's initial feminine coach at club level, has done that. And the 27-year-old, who originates from a humble background, has no regrets.

"I have always dreamt to be coach of a top team and 1 day even the national area," said Mirona, who stands barely five feet (1.5 metres) tall.

The former Bangladesh international was speaking as she coached several male players -- all many taller than her -- on the outskirts of Dhaka.

Mirona was a great assistant coach in Dhaka City SOCCER TEAM, a second-tier team, last year when Bangladesh Navy invited her to coach its women's team.

For most of the people in Bangladesh -- especially the low middle-class -- this is like winning the lottery: a secure job with retirement benefits that lots of people can only imagine.

But a couple of months soon after, Mirona got a phone from her former club, which is owned by a garment entrepreneur.

She was offered the top coach's situation with full freedom -- from recruiting players to preparing the workforce -- to fight because of its promotion to the premier league.

Mirona, who was raised in a village among six siblings, did not think and she quit the Navy immediately, despite consternation from her senior military colleagues.

Dhaka City's administrative manager Robin Ahsan, also a former national player, said the club made the proper decision in hiring Mirona.

"Our team's efficiency has better since she joined up with us. Her honesty and hard-working attitude are tremendous," said Ahsan.

"She can mingle with players much better than many male coaches in this industry."

Mirona said she actually is having the period of her lifestyle, despite some barbs fond of her by male coaches.

"At first many people negatively commented about me appearing in this profession. Many male coaches couldn't consider that, a woman learning to be a club brain coach," she said.

"I believe in quality. If I have it i quickly know I can prove that I could train up the players," she said.

- Overcoming barriers -

Her parents and the majority of her siblings, who even now are in rural Bagerhat district, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) south of the administrative centre Dhaka, want her to stay downwards and get married.

But Mirona says she is "married to soccer" and that for the present time the sport "is my life and my children".

She says she's largely avoided criticism from the community, adding that her parents' support played a large role when she started out as a footballer greater than a decade ago.

Mirona was a good midfielder for the national aspect for eight years, and also played club football found in the Maldives.

"There was zero family pressure when We used soccer. Besides, I really like the sport so much that I get over all of the barriers," Mirona said.

Mirona's go back to Dhaka City electrified working out ground.

"We love being in her workout sessions. We are able to feel our improvement daily. She made us have confidence in fitness," stated midfielder Ataur Rahman.

"She made me take up in the midfield when I just was a winger. However now I am aware midfield strategy, because of her, perfectly," the 19-year-outdated said.

The club was so impressed that it signed two more female coaches, one for goalkeeping and one as an assistant, said team manager Ahsan.

For the present time, Mirona's main focus may be the battle for the title in the second-tier championship league, which often starts in June but has been delayed as a result of worsening coronavirus situation.

She's now gone back again to her village where she spends a lot of her period watching matches of Barcelona and her favourite player, Lionel Messi.

"He's technically so gifted. He's a superstar, yet so gentle. My ultimate target is to watch him play a meet at Camp Nou," she said.