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SAFF Championship starts Tuesday
BDchronicle: The 12th edition of Suzuki South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, the biggest football event in South Asia, formally begins Tuesday at the country’s premier venue Bangabanbdhu National Stadium, reports BSS.
On the first day of the tournament, host Bangladesh will take on Bhutan in the group A fixture that kicks off at 7:00pm following the day’s another group opening match between Nepal and Pakistan at 4:00pm.
Bangladesh will play their second group match against Pakistan on 6 September while play their last group match against Nepal on 8 September.
This is the third time-after 2003 and 2009 - Bangladesh is going to host the seven-team tournament since its inception in 1993.
Bangladesh tasted title once in 2003 when they defeated the Maldives 1(5)-1(3) in the final in penalty shootout at home.
Apart from host Bangladesh, defending champions India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan are participating in the prestigious tournament.
India have been dominating force in the competition historically and have claimed a stunning seven of the 11 editions held so far.
The seven teams, split into two groups, with the winner and runner-up of each group will advance to the semi-final. The final is slated to be held on 15 September.
Established in 1993, the biennial tournament has historically featured the seven teams that form a part of the South Asian Football Federation. Afghanistan became a part of the SAFF in 2005 but withdrew in 2015 to join the Central Asian Football Federation (CAFF).
The tournament was known as the South Asian Association of regional co-operation (SAARC) Gold Cup in the inaugural 1993 edition before being changed to the South Asian Gold Cup in 1995. It was only in the third edition held in 1997 at Nepal that the tournament began to be called as the SAFF Championship.
Bangladesh squad : Ashraful Islam Rana, Shaidul Alam, Anisur Rahman, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Waly Faisal, Topu Bormon, Tutul Hossain Badsha, Biswanath Ghosh, Sushanto Tripura, Faisal Mahmood, Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Jamal Bhuiyan, Emon Mahmud, Mahmunul Islam Mamun, Biplob Ahmed, Sohel Rana, Mashuk Mia Zoni, M Saad Uddin, M Shakawat Hossain Rony and Mahbubur Rahman.