India to begin SAFF campaign with Afghan clash
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, Nov 2 (IBNS): The draw ceremony for the 10th edition of South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup to be played in New Delhi at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from December 2-11, was held at the Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Five time winner and defending Champion India and last edition runner-up Maldives have been seeded top teams. India is slated to start their campaign on December 3, with a match against Afghanistan.
The draw ceremony was attended by host of dignitaries including AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, SAFF General Secretary Alberto Colaco and Maldives Football Association General Secretary Shah Ismial.
AIFF President Praful Patel in his address said “It is a great pleasure to host the SAFF Championship in New Delhi once again. This time the Championship will be held at the World class Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium which is now being developed as a football hub as part of the legacy plan of the Ministry of Sports, Government of India.
"I wish all the participating countries the very best and hope to see a very competitive tournament.”
While speaking at the occasion AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, “SAFF Championship would not only help in development of football in the region but also help in fostering goodwill and mutual cooperation among the Nations.”
He also thanked Union Government and the Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken for all the help accorded to host such a prestigious tournament at the newly build Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh are the eight teams vying for top honour in the biennial competition which will be played from December 2-11, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. The first match of the tournament will be played among the Group B between Bangladesh vs Pakistan.
SAFF CUP 2011 GROUPS:
Group A: India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan.
Group B: Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal.
Day 1 Matches (December 2)
Bangladesh vs Pakistan
Maldives vs Nepal
Day 2 Matches (December 3)
Sri Lanka vs Bhutan
India vs Afghanistan
Day 3 Matches (December 4)
Bangladesh vs Nepal
Maldives vs Pakistan
Day 4 Matches (December 5)
Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan
India vs Bhutan
Day 5 Matches (December 6)
Pakistan vs Nepal
Maldives vs Bangladesh
Day 6 Matches (December 7)
Bhutan vs Afghanistan
India vs Sri Lanka
Semifinals (December 9)
1st Semifinal: Winner A vs Runner-up B
2nd Semifinal: Winner B vs Runner-up A
Grand Final: December 11
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