SAFF football draw to take place on Tuesday

Kathmandu: They may not have played enough international matches in recent times but that should not be a major cause of concern for six-time defending champions India as the draw for the SAFF football championship takes place here on Tuesday.

India are the most fancied team in Group A, while runners-up Afghanistan are placed in Group B.

Six other teams -- hosts Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh -- will be placed in the two groups as per the draw.

India have been a dominant force in this championship but they would be wary of Afghanistan and Maldives as they had faced stiff competition from the two nations in the past.

The last time India had played an international friendly was way back in February, when they lost 2-4 to Palestine in Kochi.

India`s international friendlies against Malaysia and Philippines have also been cancelled as they clashed with the re-scheduled SAFF Cup dates. The tournament is now slated to be held here from September 1-11.

As per the earlier schedule, the event was to be held from September 18 but due to the AFC commitments of the India`s East Bengal and Maldives` New Radiant Sports Club, the organisers were forced to rejig the dates.

The Indian football team`s tour of England, where it was scheduled to play three international friendlies against Pakistan and Bangladesh in June, was also cancelled.

However, despite the lack of international friendlies, India will still fancy their chances in the 10th edition of the tournament under captain Sunil Chhetri.


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