Sunil Chhetri-led Indian football team will begin their SAFF Championship campaign by locking horns with Bangladesh at the Maldives National Men’s Stadium in the evening. India will compete against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives for the top regional football honours, in the flagship tournament of five South Asian national football teams.
It is noteworthy that Pakistan and Bhutan are notably absent in this edition of the tournament. The 5-team football tournament will be played in a round-robin format from October 1 to October 16, with each team taking on each other before the first two teams advance to the final.
Named as the title contenders, the group opening is tough for India, as it adopts an optimistic side from Bangladesh, who beat Sri Lanka by a single goal in the first match played on 1 October.
If one were to go back to recent history, Bangladesh drew against India in the first leg of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers. The “Blue Tigers” made a strong comeback to win the second leg by a margin of two goals.
India was the dominant force in the SAFF Championships, winning the South Asian regional title seven times. The “Blue Tigers” in Maldives came second in the previous edition of the 2018 tournament.
A look at India’s entire squad for SAFF 2021 Championship
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes.
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
India’s schedule at the SAFF Championship 2021
October 4 – India vs Bangladesh
October 7 – India vs Sri Lanka
October 10 – India vs Nepal
October 13 – India vs Maldives
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