The SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018, or the 12th SAFF Championship will kick off from September 4 in Dhaka’s Bangabandhu National Stadium. The tournament will comprise of 7 teams from the South Asian region namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (host), Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. 2015 runners up Afghanistan will not feature since they moved to CAFF, whereas Pakistan will return to the competition after withdrawing from the 2015 edition.
The SAFF Championship, which originated form the 1993 SAARC Gold Cup, was first held in 1997 in Kathmandu, Nepal. It has been a biennial tournament ever since with a few exceptions. Starting from the 2015 edition, the tournament is formally known as SAFF Suzuki Cup, Suzuki Motors being the title sponsor.
India have been the most successful team in the SAFF Championship with 7 titles, the most recent being in the last edition in 2015 where they defeated Afghanistan 2-1 in the final in Trivandrum. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Afghanistan have each won the championship once.
Bangladesh have hosted the SAFF Championship twice – in 2003 and 2009. The hosts won their only title in 2003, beating Maldives 5-3 on penalties. Apart form this, Bangladesh have made it to the final 3 times, third most after leaders India and Maldives.
The 7 teams have been divided into two groups of 4 and 3 teams respectively.
|GROUP A||GROUP B|
Group Stage: India’s Fixtures
5 September 2018 : INDIA v SRI LANKA – KO 19:00 Local (18:30 IST)
9 September 2018 : INDIA v MALDIVES – KO 19:00 Local (18:30 IST)
Top two teams from each group will qualify for the Semi-finals.
SEMI-FINALS : 12 September 2018
Semi-final 1 : A1 v B2 – KO 16:00 Local (15:30 IST)
Semi-final 2 : B1 v A2 – KO 19:30 Local (19:00 IST)
FINAL : 15 September 2018
WINNER SF1 v WINNER SF2 – KO 19:00 Local (18:30 IST)
All matches of the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 will be available in the Indian subcontinent Live and exclusively on DSport.
The Indian team will be prominently comprised of U-23 players with head coach Stephen Constantine aiming to unearth maximum talent for the 2019 Asian Cup. India will enter the competition as defending champions.