2021 SAFF Championship dates out for India; Blue Tigers to kick off campaign against Bangladesh on October 4
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has announced the 2021 SAFF Championship dates for the Indian national team. The five-team tournament will be held in the Maldives.
The Blue Tigers, under head coach Igor Stimac, will kick off their campaign on October 4 against Bangladesh whom they beat 2-0 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in Doha in June earlier this year. This will be followed by matches against Sri Lanka, Nepal and hosts Maldives on October 7, October 10 and October 13.
The final, featuring the top two teams, will be played on October 16.
Presently, 24 Indian players are part of the ongoing preparatory camp in Kolkata ahead of the Blue Tigers’ upcoming international friendlies against Nepal. These players are Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith. Asish Rai, Seriton Fernandes, Rahul Bheke, Adil Khan, Chinglensana Singh, Narender Gahlot, Akash Mishra, Mandar Rao Dessai, Bipin Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Glan Martins, Jeakson Singh, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Mohammed Yasir, Halicharan Narzary, Rahul KP, Farukh Choudhary, Ishan Pandita and Rahim Ali.
As many as 11 other Indian players will join the camp after Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) outfits ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC finish their campaign in the ongoing AFC Cup (Group D, South Zone) in Male (Maldives). These players are Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal, Ashutosh Mehta, Subhasish Bose, Udanta Singh, Suresh Wangjam, Ashique Kuruniyan, Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh and Sunil Chhetri.