Pakistan face challenging SAFF Cup group

The SAFF Cup (South Asian Football Federation Championships) will be played from December 2 to 11, 2011 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. The draw for the tournament was carried out at the Le Meridien hotel in New Delhi earlier today, 2 November 2011.

Defending champions India, who won the 2009 edition with a largely Under-23 team in Dhaka, Bangladesh, have been drawn in an easier Group A along with Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Meanwhile Group B looks stronger in which 2009 winners Maldives, 2003 winners Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan would face each other.

The top two teams from each group would qualify for the semifinals, which will be played on December 9 while the final is slated for December 11. All matches are set to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

It will be the ninth edition of the SAFF Cup, early on called SAARC Gold Cup, with India hosting the tournament for the second time after 1999 when it was held in Margao, Goa and India had won the title then with a 2-0 victory against Bangladesh in the final.

2011 SAFF CUP – New Delhi

Group A: India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan

03-Dec-2011: India – Afghanistan
03-Dec-2011: Sri Lanka – Bhutan
05-Dec-2011: India – Bhutan
05-Dec-2011: Sri Lanka – Afghanistan
07-Dec-2011: India – Sri Lanka
07-Dec-2011: Afghanistan – Bhutan

Group B: Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan

02-Dec-2011: Maldives – Nepal
02-Dec-2011: Bangladesh – Pakistan
04-Dec-2011: Maldives – Pakistan
04-Dec-2011: Bangladesh – Nepal
06-Dec-2011: Maldives – Bangladesh
06-Dec-2011: Nepal – Pakistan

09-Dec-2011: Group A Winners – Group B Runners-up
09-Dec-2011: Group B Winners – Group A Runners-up

11-Dec-2011: Winner SF 1 – Winner SF 2

Source: Arunava Chaudhuri