FixturesSeptember 1: India vs Pakistan (3.15 PM IST)
September 1: Nepal vs Bangladesh (6.15 PM IST)
September 2: Afghanistan vs Bhutan (3.15 PM IST)
September 2: Maldives vs Sri Lanka (6.15 PM IST)
September 3: Pakistan vs Nepal (3.15 PM IST)
September 3: Bangladesh vs India (6.15 PM IST)
September 4: Bhutan vs Maldives (3.15 PM IST)
September 4: Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan (6.15 PM IST)
September 5: India vs Nepal (3.15 PM IST)
September 5: Bangladesh vs Pakistan (6.15 PM IST)
September 6: Afghanistan vs Maldives (3.15 PM IST)
September 6: Sri Lanka vs Bhutan (6.15 PM IST)
September 8: Winner Group A vs Runners-up Group B (3.15 PM IST)
September 8: Winner Group B vs Runners-up Group A (6.15 PM IST)
September 11: Final
Last edited by Unsaid words; 29-08-2013 at 12:38 AM.
COUNTRY NAME: PakistanADMINISTRATIVE BODY: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)FIFA RANKING: 168NICKNAME: Green ShirtsLast Official Match Played: Afghanistan 3-0 Pakistan (20th August 2013)
PAKISTAN SQUADGoalkeepers – Yousuf Butt, Saqib Hanif, Muzammil Hussain
Defenders – Samar Ishaq, Yaqoob Butt, Kamran Khan, Ahsanullah, Muhammad Ahmed, Mohammad Hameed, Zesh Rehman, Amjad Iqbal
Midfielders – Adnan Ahmed, Muhammad Adil, Yasir Afridi, Saddam Hussain, Zia Us Salam, Faisal Iqbal, Naveed Ahmed, Mohammad Riaz
Forwards - Hassan Bashir, Kaleemullah, Saeed Ahmed, Muhammad Mujahid
Players To Watch Out For
Zeshan Rehman – The former Fulham centre-back is one of those players who decided to represent the country of their origin, when approached by the PFF. The only Green Shirts player to have played in England, Hong Kong and Thailand, brings a calming influence to the team at the back, alongwith the experience of having played at a professional level for most of his career.
Yousuf Butt– Another member of the foreign contingent, the custodian, who has represented Canada at the age group level, plies his trade in Denmark for Glostrup FK. Capped for the first time in 2012 against Singapore, how he commands the box against stronger oppositions, might play a crucial factor in where his side ends up, at the end of the group stages.
Blessed with good reactions, he will have to be at his best, as Pakistan’s defense can often suffer from a lack of concentration, meaning that the goalkeeper has a lot of work to deal with.
Hassan Bashir– Another Denmark based player, the striker also made his debut alongside Butt in the Singapore tie, and has since become an integral member of the squad. He got on the score-sheet in his very next game, scoring in a win over Nepal, before assisting for another goal versus Maldives, showing he not only had a ruthless finishing touch, but also plenty of creativity.
Both these qualities will be invaluable for his national team, as they look to beat the higher ranked teams like India and Pakistan.
aray wah Pak b hai
Nepal 2-0 Bangladesh
The hosts begin the tournament on a perfect note
SAFF Championship 2013 Preview: India vs Pakistan
Venue: Dasarath Stadium, Kathmandu, Nepal
Kickoff: Sunday, September 1st, 6:15pm IST
At every SAFF Championship, India are expected to win the tournament. That remains the case in this edition too, although they haven’t been in good form in this calendar year and are not even the highest-ranked team in the region.
Their failure to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup has put even more pressure on Wim Koevermans and his players to retain the regional title and anything less could raise question marks about the Dutch coach’s future.
The record six-time champions strangely had their preparatory camp on the artificial surface, although all matches at SAFF 2013 will take place on natural pitches, and only played one international friendly.
So far in Kathmandu, Koevermans has consistently played down the external pressure of a showdown against Pakistan in the opener, stressing that every game is important.
But deep down he will be aware that a negative result in this game will not only complicate things for his side in this tournament, but also strengthen the growing discontent among Indian football followers.
India’s preparations were also hit by the injuries to regular fullbacks Denzil Franco and Gurjinder Kumar while veteran wide midfielder Clifford Miranda also wasn’t included in the final squad due to a knock.
Although the majority of the final squad has played and won the SAFF Championship in the past, overall it lacks international experience as only six out of the 20 players have 20 or more caps.
That could be vital, considering the fact that the tournament is organised outside India this time, and for the record, the senior national team hasn’t won a competition on foreign soil sine 2005.
Hence, a winning start is mandatory, and since the opponents are Pakistan, a victory could even raise the self-belief of the squad as any win over the arch-rivals in any sport creates a feel good factor back home.
The biggest problem for this India team is that they are overdependent on skipper and talisman Sunil Chhetri to do the scoring. The 29-year-old Delhite is three goals away from becoming India’s all-time top scorer and needs two at SAFF 2013 to become the competition’s all-time highest scorer.
In the current squad, Jeje Lalpekhlua is the second highest goal scorer with eight goals to his name but is unlikely to start. The versatile Syed Rahim Nabi is possibly the other real match-winner besides Sunil, but even his inclusion in the starting eleven is doubtful.
Koevermans will also be wary of Pakistan’s foreign presence and would be hoping that his players don’t panic like in the final AFC Challenge Cup qualifier against Myanmar where they lost when a draw would have secured qualification.
The Koevermans era started well last year with Nehru Cup success, but it hasn’t gone according to plan since then. SAFF 2013 gives the former Dutch international and his players the chance to make up for the recent bad showings. Only a win will be good enough from the opener.
Own goal hands India victory over spirited Pakistan
Pakistan put on a spirited performance and even scored — at the wrong end though — as they lost their opening Group ‘A’ match at the SAFF Championship to arch-rivals India 1-0 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Sunday.
Captain Samar Ishaq’s misjudged clearance in the 14th minute ended up in the back of the Pakistan goal as India scraped past their neighbours by the skin of their teeth in a pulsating match which for long stretches was dominated by Pakistan.
Nonetheless, Pakistan’s attacking intent — a far cry from when Zavisa Milosavljevic was coach — was hailed by Pakistan’s former coaches and players.
“The team’s performance was a breath of fresh air,” Pakistan’s former coach Tariq Lutfi said after the game regarding the strategy laid out by Pakistan coach Shahzad Anwar.
“Pakistan have come out of their defensive era and we gave the defending champions a run for their money so it’s a good sign for the future.”
Shahzad is leading the team at the event following the sacking of Milosavljevic days before the SAFF Championship. Formerly the assistant coach to Milosavljevic, he's been given charge of the team's affairs with incoming Bahraini coach Moahmmad Al Shamlan acting as consultant for the regional event
Pakistan’s former playmaker Mohammad Essa also hailed Pakistan’s performance.
“The new coach understands players well,” Essa said. “Players are under less pressure now than they were under Milosavljevic.
“This is a definite improvement for the team and hopefully we can do well in the coming matches.”
Pakistan now face hosts Nepal on Tuesday before wrapping up their campaign against Bangladesh on Thursday. A good result in the coming matches could pave the way for the team to reach the semis.
They can take a lot of heart from their performance against India.
India started strongly at the Dasharath Rangala Stadium and put Pakistan into early pressure with a flurry of corners.
It didn’t take them long to take the lead when a cross from Indian captain Sunil Chetri caused mayhem in the Pakistan penalty area and Samar inadvertently hoofed the ball past Pakistan goalkeeper Yousuf Butt.
The goal spurred Pakistan into action and almost immediately Hassan Bashir drew a foul by Indian goalkeeper Subrata Paul before missing the ensuing free-kick by some distance.
Hassan almost atoned for his earlier miss when a clever back-heel from him released Mohammad Riaz but he struck wide of Paul’s goal in the 23rd minute.
Hassan was involved in almost every attack mustered by the Pakistan team and the closest he came to scoring was in the 35th when his terrific strike beat a fully-stretched Paul but came back of the upright.
Hassan’s fellow foreign-based player Adnan Ahmed, who plays for Droylsden in Blue Square Bet League in England, was the next to come close to leveling the scores but he headed just inches wide in the 42nd.
Last seaon’s top-scorer in the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL), Kaleemullah then drew a superb save from Paul with a long-range strike in the very next minute.
Pakistan started the second-half the way they ended the first with Kaleemullah’s Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) team-mate Mohammad Adil striking an angled shot just wide in the 49th.
It was all Pakistan at that moment with the Indians finding themselves at the end of a well-oiled Pakistan machine desperate to score the equaliser as Riaz had an effort saved on the hour mark.
With Pakistan going on the attack, space began opening at the back for India to exploit.
Chetri had a glorious opportunity to double India’s advantage in the 78th when he fired wide from close range before missing another chance to put the game beyond Pakistan’s reach when his strike went inches above the cross-bar five minutes from time before they held on for victory which which put them level on three points at the top of Group ‘A’.