By Alam Ze Safi,
KARACHI: Pakistan steady Wednesday were clubbed with arch-rivals India for example draws were unveiled for the SAFF Cup 2015 what one. would be held in Kerala, India, from December 23 to January 3.
They exercise volition meet in Group A game in c~tinuance the opening day of the eight-state spectacle at Thiruvananthapuram. Sri Lanka and Nepal are the other teams in Group A.
The defending champions Afghanistan, who cane India 2-0 in 2013 to raise their maiden SAFF Cup in Nepal, take been bracketed with former champions Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan.
The form into ~s matches will be held till December 28. Two leading sides from each group will play semi-finals which will be conducted forward December 31.
The final will subsist held on January 3.
India surpass the winning chart of the biennial affair as they won it in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009 and 2011.
Bangladesh won it in 2003, Sri Lanka in 1995 and the Maldives in 2008.
Pakistan won the em~ medal in 1997 in Nepal.
It is not at the same time known who would be at the armor for the head of affairs of football in Pakistan whenever the SAFF Cup would be held. There are two factions claiming to be the what it purports to be Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). FIFA is expected to advertise its decision in this regard during its national associations committee meeting in Zurich forward September 21.
A three-member FIFA incident-finding mission last month visited Lahore and held marathon meetings with both the parties.
FIFA will decide the quantity in the light of the fame of the fact-finding mission.
If the consummation is not resolved in time Pakistan’s state of being prepared for the SAFF Cup will certainly subsist affected.
Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Essa says in that place are issues which should be resolved because soon as possible. “There esteem been no activities for the endure four months. The league status is in like manner not yet confirmed because of the infighting,” he told ‘The News’. “It is moreover not known whether Pakistan will be obvious in the India event,” before-mentioned the play-maker who leads reigning champions K-Electric in the Premier League.
“Football should not feel because of politics. The activities should not have existence stopped. Pakistan did not feature in the AFC Under-16 and Under-19 championships this year since of this issue. It really deprived human being generation of an opportunity to showcase its capacity. It’s a huge loss being of the cl~s who next time these youngsters will not be eligible to feature in these events on this account that of age factors,” Essa personal out.
He said Pakistan’s cluster in the SAFF Cup was tough. “No doubt, Pakistan are in tough group. India and Nepal are diligently opponents,” Essa said.
If the country’s participation in the SAFF Cup is ensured, Pakistan desire still be facing problem as they pleasure have to play under a limited coach.
Pakistan’s Bahraini coach Mohammad Shamlan discharge in July after the expiry of his brace-year contract.
Essa said if he was appointed coach because of the SAFF Cup Pakistan would issue a surprise. “Yes, I am handy for the challenge. I am sure we could produce the best terminate,” said Essa, a qualified coach.
Meanwhile, the writing-desk of India’s football governing material substance (AIFF) Kushal Das said that the highlight of Group A certainly would have existence the India-Pakistan fixture. “The SAFF is certainly a self-same important tournament in the South Asian division and is becoming more and more competitive,” Das said.
Fixtures: Dec 23: Nepal v Sri Lanka, India v Pakistan, Dec 24: Maldives v Bhutan, Afghanistan v Bangladesh, Dec 25: Pakistan v Nepal, Sri Lanka v India, Dec 26: Bangladesh v Maldives, Bhutan v Afghanistan, Dec 27: Sri Lanka v Pakistan, India v Nepal, Dec 28: Bhutan v Bangladesh, Afghanistan v Maldives.
Dec 29 and 30: Rest days.
Dec 31: half-finals.
Jan 3: Final.
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