SAFF Suzuki Cup will commence tomorrow, 3rd September 2018, 4:00pm in Dhaka at Bangabandhu National Stadium with Pakistan taking on Nepal in Group A opener followed by the second match Host Bangladesh taking on Bhutan at 7:00pm.
The Seven SAFF teams took part in the 12th edition of the Championship and they are split into two groups. While the Host Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan are in Group A, the next three teams which includes Seven times champion India, Maldives and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The winner and runner-up of each group will advance to the semi-final and The final will take place on 15 September.
India will be looking to win consecutive SAFF Suzuki titles for the third time, after achieving the feat previously in 1999 & 2011.
The host nation Bangladesh have lost just one of their nine SAFF Suzuki cup games when playing at home. They have won Seven and drew one at home. They are also unbeaten in their six group games in the competition winning 5, drawing one.
Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be looking to add one more trophy to their cabinet. All three has won the tournament once.
Pakistan are back in international football after almost 4 years and they will be looking to give a hard fight in this year’s competition. Their Brazilian coach Jose Antonio Nogueira said that they believe they can reach knockout stage and they are looking forward towards an exciting tournament. Bangladesh Coach Jamie Day also said that, Pakistan may be the dark horse as they have a great coach and players playing at Europe.
In today’s News Conference at Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), Nepal and Bhutan representatives said they are not just here to add numbers but to compete other high rank teams. Bhutan Coach Trevor Morgan said that they need 4 points to advance and they will do whatever necessary to accomplish their target. And Nepal Coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said that they haven’t won the competition yet but they have been preparing for the last three months. He also added that they know rivals condition and they are ready to fight eyeing the target.
Maldives head coach Petar Segrt said that they are well prepared and focused for the upcoming tournament and he also added that he does not want to talk about past results and his time in Afghanistan. His main focus will be the future of Maldives football.
This is the third time Bangladesh hosting the tournament. They hosted and won in 2003 and They made it to the semifinals when they hosted the event again in 2009.