- Published on Thursday, 17 September 2015 18:19
Pakistan will face India in their opening game of the SAFF Suzuki Cup later this year but the fate of the national team remains hanging in the balance due to the crisis in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).
The PFF has split into two factions after claims of incompetence and corruption in the lead-up to its presidential polls which were scheduled for June 30 and now awaits a FIFA decision into the matter.
World's football governing body FIFA will discuss the Pakistan issue in its Associations Committee meeting on Sept 21 and it will only be after a final decision is reached that preparations for South Asia's marquee football event will take place.
Pakistan will face arch-rivals India in their Group 'A' opener at the SAFF Cup on December 23 before facing Nepal two days later and concluding their group stage campaign against Sri Lanka on December 27 after the draws for the tournament were made in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"We have to lay the groundwork for the SAFF Cup now regardless of the FIFA decision," former PFF secretary Col Mujahidullah Tareen told Dawn on Wednesday.
"With the national team having been out of action for the last several months, we need to get started so that we're able to compete there."
But the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is hoping that it will not prove to be a hindrance when Pakistan visit for the South Asian event which will be held in Kerala from December 23-January 3.
"We had Pakistan before in 2011 and played a couple of friendlies in Bangalore last year," said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das after Wednesday's draw, in comments reported by Press Trust of India.
"Necessary permission have to be taken from the government but I don't see any problem.
"We will have to face it when it comes," Das added about a possible Plan B. "We don't foresee any problems. It is important to follow the process, may be in other cases the process was not correctly followed."
- Published on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:29
Nepal is grouped against heavyweights India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015 during a draw in New Delhi today.
The draw that concluded this afternoon has defending Champions Afghanistan drawn against Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the other group of the championship to be held in India from December 23.
Nepal will begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on December 23 before playing Pakistan two days later. The match against arch rivals India will be played on December 27. The final will be played on January 3, 2016.
Nepal had defeated India 2-1 on the final group match on the earlier version of the competition held at Kathmandu. They, however, were undone by Afghanistan in the semis where they lost 1-0.
The senior side has not won a single match or scored any goals after winning that match against India.
- Published on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 13:39
Watch Full video of official draw of the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2015 here
- Published on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 23:35
Afghanistan proved their FIFA rankings credentials as they lifted the SAFF Championship 2013 for the very first time in their history after defeating India 2-0 at Dasharath Stadium, Kathmnadu. India the defending champion had to concede their title to AFghanistan after AFghanistan's goalie's Mansur Fagriyar's heroic performance in the final.
Mustafa Azadzoy scored the first goal of the match for Afghansitan int he 10th minute of the match to give an early lead. He scored a fine tap in after being set up by Belal Arezou. India took sometime to settle their nevers and make attacking maneouvre. First Mehatab and than Jeje's shot were brilliantly saved by Fagriyar to keep India at bay as the first half finsihed with AFghanistan leading 1-0.
The second half was started well by Afghanistan but it was India who got the first better chance of second half. Robin Singh got one on one with Fagriyar but he kept the ball out with his leg to deny the Indian forward. Sunil Chettri who came from bench made an instant as impact as his shot was well denied by AFghanistan's custodian. In the meanwhile Afghanistan doubled their lead in the counter move as Arezou's shot was saved by Subrato but Ahmedi latched on the rebound to give Afghanistan 2-0 cushion. Indian skipper Sunil later rattled the crossbar with a vicious stike but India couldn't make a comeback as Afghanistan became the new champion of SAFF region.
Afghanistan received a cash prize of $50,000 along with trophy. Runners-up India received a cash prize of $25,000. Both semifinalist Nepal and Maldives also received a cash prize of $10,000 each. In terms of individual prize Nepal's Rabin Shrestha was declared the best player from host country. He received a Hero bike. Maldives' Ali AShfaq remained the tournament's top scorer with 10 goals. Afghanistna's GK Mansur Fagriyar was declared the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Nepal also received a 'Fair Play Award'.