New Delhi: The 11th edition of the South Asian Football Federation Championships will be held in Thiruvananthapuram from December 23 to January 3, a top AIFF official said.
All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das said that a full strength Indian senior team will take part in the championships which the country has won six times.
"The SAFF Championships will be held from December 23 to January 3 in Thiruvnanthpuram," Das said at a media interaction during a reception hosted for head coach Stephen Constantine by British High Commission here last night.
"India will field a full strength senior team," he added. India lost 0-2 to Afghanistan in the final of the last edition in Kathmandu in 2013. Das also said that an international friendly is being planned on August 31 against Nepal in Pune ahead of India's 2018 World Cup second round qualifying match against Iran on September 8.
Next year in September, India will also host the AFC Under-16 Championships final round, one year ahead of the big event -- 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Das said the national team's loss against Guam in the 2018 World Cup qualifying second round match last month has got negative publicity about Indian football.
"Guam loss was a disappointment and there was a lot of negative publicity. Indian football will take some time to rise. Eight-nine years back there was no AIFF office. Wherever the secretary resides, that was the AIFF office," he said.
"The state associations lack money so the AIFF have started this pilot project in seven states to appoint technical officers and directors of marketing and operations in these seven states."