2021 SAFF Championship
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Ooredoo SAFF Championship 2021 will be the 13th edition of biennial Mens Football Championship of South Asia. Organised by South Asian Football Federation, Maldives will host this tournament on October 1-16.
Maldives is the defending champion having won it in last edition 2018
5 countries are participating - Maldives, India, Nepal, Sri lanka & Bangladesh
India has won this championship 7 times.
Personally, I'm not his biggest fan; he avoids putting trust in younger players and his teams tend to play functional football, but it will be interesting to see how he shapes his team in front of a demanding home crowd.
As for new players, left-back Haisham Hassan, 21, is the youngest member of the starting XI. The Club Eagles defender is definitely one to watch and is a veteran of sorts, having made the left-back position his own since given his debut at the tender age of 19 by Petar Segrt.
Up front, Ali Haisham has been a revelation. At 29, he's a late bloomer, but his sharpness in front of goal, intelligent movement and strong worth ethic is definitely an asset for the team. He picked up a slight injury though in the last training match against a Qatari side, in which he bagged 2 goals, and is expected to miss at least the opening match.
With regards to COVID-19 restrictions, FAM says that players will have the "same restrictions that were imposed upon them during last month's AFC Cup matches". I'm guessing that means they will be subjected to random PCR tests, as well as mandatory tests the day before matches.
Supporters will only be allowed in the stadium if they can show proof of complete vaccination. FAM are pushing to eliminate physical distancing among supporters to ensure that the ground gets filled up for matches. Maldives has been operating under their New Normal guidelines since the end of July anyway.
Public Service Media will be broadcasting the matches in Maldives.
What about Hamza Mohamed (Maziya player) ? Hope he got selected for SAFF Championship.
He looks very good in recent AFC Cup Group Stage matches.
Stimac names list of 23 for the SAFF Championship
Indian Men’s Senior National Team Head Coach Igor Stimac has named a list of 23 players for the forthcoming SAFF Championship which kicks off in the Maldives from October 1 onwards. The final of the championship is slated for October 16.
The players and the support staff will assemble in Bengaluru tomorrow (Monday, September 27), and will fly out to the Maldives the next day. Stimac, and other members of the technical staff will join the squad directly in Maldives on the same day.
Following are India’s fixtures in the group stage:
October 4: Bangladesh vs India (IST 4.30pm).
October 7: India vs Sri Lanka (IST 4.30pm).
October 10: Nepal vs India (IST 8.30pm).
October 13: India vs Maldives (IST 8.30pm).
The list of 23 probables is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS: Gurpreet Singh, Amrinder Singh, Vishal Kaith.
DEFENDERS: Pritam Kotal, Seriton Fernandes, Chinglensana Singh, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Mandar Rao Dessai.
MIDFIELDERS: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.
FORWARDS: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary