Nepal gets tough group in SAFF football

3 Oct 2009 - Nepal find ´group of death´ for the upcoming South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship being held in Bangladesh from December 5 to15.

Nepal get tough opponents as three times winner India, defending champion Maldives and Afghanistan for the Sixth SAF.

According to, host Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bhutan are placed in the next group of the tournament.

Meeting of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) held in Bangladesh unveiled the draw on Saturday.

"Draw was conducted giving seating to host Bangladesh and defending Champion Maldives”, says General Secretary of SAFF Islam Bachchu.

Nepal is, yet, unable to win the valued tournament of South Asia. Nepal could not even get ahead of group stage in the last three edition of the tournament.

All Nepal Football Association have postponed Martyrs´ Memorial ´A´ Division League of this year for the preparation of the tournament and South Asian Games (SAG). However, preparation for the tournaments is still to begin.


1 comment:

Sthapa said...

The SAFF Championship has been a close affair although India has emerged the most dominant by virtue of winning the competition three times.

Every edition we have witnessed so far has been wide open and fiercely fought.

There is nothing much separating the teams in terms of playing style,level of skills, techniques and physicality.

India which used to be a force to reckon with in world football in the 50s are yet to resurrect themselves.

Over the years they have struggled against their neighbors.
The last edition was won by the vastly improved Maldives at the expense of India.

Afghanistan's entry has not only expanded the championship but made it more competitive.

The 2009 edition starting on 4 December,in Dhaka,Bangladesh is wide open.

The team that combines consistency,aggression, killer instinct and scoring prowess throughout has a clear advantage.

Who that team might be, I really don't know, honestly. It is hard for anyone to pick a particular team because the participants are evenly balanced matched.

Going by reports defending champion Maldives are in Dhaka well prepared.

Under the Hungarian coach Maldives trained in Bahrain and played a good number of quality friendlies against a Korean Club, Malaysia and others.

Also they are the most consistent performer in the SAFF Championship. They are a hard nut to crack, and one of the tournament favorites.

They are pitted against powerhouse India, Nepal and Afghanistan in the league cum knock out format.

The group, obviously, is intriguing. India opting to field their under 23 national outfit has given a new twist to the championship.

Reports does suggest that they are a talented outfit studded with I League players.

Whether they are able play to their potential and deliver the goods is yet to be seen.

Afghanistan is the dark horse and has the ability to upset the apple cart.

With inclusion of their three foreign ( Germany) based players in the starting line up they can be a dangerous lot.

Coming to Nepal, for now Krishna Thapa is certainly an elated and confident coach following the team's success against Calcutta outfits and Bhutan in friendlies.

The matter of fact is that Nepal preparation has been well short. One fails to comprehend why All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) continues to ignore the importance of an effective and proper training despite calls from all quarters.

A lot depends on the attacking dynamic trio of Anil,Jumanu and Santosh. But ultimately it boils down to a collective effort, individual brilliance, withstanding pressure and winning combination.

We do have an excellent chance to write history but a good start is required.

The opener against Maldives is extremely tricky and tough. Unless we give a hundread percent it will not work for us.

Same has to be said about India and Afghanistan.We cannot afford even the slightest complacency. Otherwise, we are destined for further setback.

Let us hope our booters dazzle and accomplish success.

The other group comprising of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan offer suspense and excitment.

Bangladesh no doubt is a strong contender. They have everything to their advantage to succeed.

Pakistan coached by an Austrian has several Pakistan born players( playing in England) in the line up. They are a physical side determined to win big.

Sri Lanka might have faded in recent years but are still a force to reckon with.

Minnows Bhutan surprised everyone by finishing third in the last edition. Yet once again they look a resolute and purposeful lot.

Certainly the championship is shaping to be full of surprises with no clear favorite on the horizon.