The 12th edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship is set to kick off today at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka.
Nepal will take on Pakistan in the opening match today.
Nirajan Khadka made a great comeback to National side after five years of absence and defender suman Aryal was also included for the first time in National Team. Bikram Lama is recovering from injury so he wasn’t included. Rohit Chand had already joined the National side after returning from Indonesia. Team Captain and defender Biraj Maharjan will lead the team in todays opener.
Pakistan who are returning to international football after a 2-year suspension from FIFA.They included Goalkeeper Saqib Hanif who plays in Maldives with club Foakaidhoo FC. Ex Fulham defender Zesh Rehman, Denmark-based Adnan Mohammed, Hassan Bashir, Yousuf Butt and Mohammad Ali is also available and ready to start. The skipper Saddam Hussain will be the key player for them.
WHAT MANAGER SAYS:
Nepal head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan said that, they are here for the title. There first target will be reaching the knockouts and then lifting the title. He also said they have one new face (Suman Aryal) in the team and their boys are working very hard and are focused to give their best.
Pakistan Coach Jose Antonio Nogueira said that, they have been out of the international stage for almost three years and it’s not easy to remove the vacuum out within a short span of time. He also said that he believes they can reach the knockout stage.
HEAD TO HEAD
Nepal and Pakistan faced each other 15 times in all competitions. Each team winning 5 of the 15 encounters and Drawing the rest 5 matches. They played their first match back in 1985, which was won by Pakistan 1-0.
The recent meeting came in 2013 SAFF Championship where they drew 1-1. Nepal team is winless in their last seven matches. They had lost 5 of their last seven matches. And Pakistan are worst. They are winless in their last 12 matches.
So, Both the teams will be looking to break their winless streak and It’s going to be an exciting opener of SAFF Championship 2018.