SAFF Championship Preview: India vs Afghanistan - The Defending Champions Looking To Make A Statement Against The Lions
The Men in Blue begin their campaign taking on Afghanistan, who have never beaten India in their previous three attempts...
By Kaustav Bera
Faisal, Sakhizada, Rezai, Amiri;
Hadid, Kohistani, Nadeem, Barakazai;
After an action packed first day in the SAFF Championship where Group B is evenly poised with all four teams on a point each, Group A kicks off with defending champions India locking horns with Afghanistan. What is remarkable about these two teams is that both these teams have domestic coaches at the helm, with Savio Medeira for India and Mohammed Yousuf Kargar for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan have never beaten India and their recent encounter being the Challenge Cup 2008 where they lost to India. India come into the game on the back of a demoralizing thrashing at home by a massive five goals albeit to a relatively higher ranked Zambia side.
Savio can, however, breath a sigh of relief as his two star strikers who had gone on a trials to Scottish side Rangers are back with the national team. The duo are set to feature in the opening encounter. With star goalkeeper Subrata Paul and midfield general Mehtab Hussain still unavailable due to injuries, this isn't the strongest India squad.
Climax Lawrence who has been handed the captain's armband will look to use his massive experience to marshal the midfield and guide this Indian team to a first round victory.
Kargar believes that with his side being a perfect blend of youth and experience, they can easily beat India 1-0. The squad also boasts two new faces to debut, Ahmadi and Hatifie both of whom play overseas.
Talismanic Captain Kohistani will look to be at his creative best and lead from the front. Amiri, the experienced left back who plays for Mumbai FC will look to add solidity to his defense and look to keep off India's dangerous frontmen.
Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Subhasish Roychowdhury, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu,
Defenders: Jaspal Parmar, Sameer Naik, Mahesh Gawli, Debabrata Roy, Nirmal Chettri, Syed Rahim Nabi, Gouramangi Moirangthem, Govin Moirangthem
Midfielders: Baldeep Singh, Rocus Lamare, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Francis Fernandes, Climax Lawrence, Anthony Pereira, Clifford Miranda, Jewel Raja, Steven Dias, Lalrindika Ralte
Forwards: Baljit Sahni, Jeje Lalpeklua, Sushil Singh, Joaquim Abranches, Sunil Chhetri.
alek, Wahed Ahmed, Mithun Chowdhury.
Available Squad for Afghanistan
Goalkeeper: Hamidullah Yousufzai, Bashi Darman
Defence: Moqaddar Qazizada, Zohib Islam Amiri, Faisal Sakhizada, Zakria Rezai, Djalaludin Shariatyar, Mujtaba Faiz, Yusef Samy
Midfield: Masood Hashimi, Israfeel Kohistani (C), Wahid Nadim, Masiullah Barakzai, Ghulam Hazrat Niazi, Mohammad Yusef Mashriqi, Ahmad Arash Hatifie
Strikers: Hashmatullah Barakzai, Sandjar Ahmadi, Belal Arezou, Ata Yamrali
|| DID YOU KNOW?
- Afghanistan are ranked 178. However that's just 16 places below India!
- Afghanistan have faced India thrice in the past and have lost all 3 encounters.
- This is Savio's first competitive match in his short tenure as Head coach of India.
- Climax Lawrence who scored the injury time winner when India last met Afghanistan in Challenge Cup 2008 is the Captain of India.
- Afghanistan boast a number of overseas players who play in Germany, USA and even India.
- The two Indian Strikers have between them 32 goals, with an impressive strike rate of better than a goal every two matches.
Catch all the latest Live action and match highlights from SAFF Championship here
Top 3 Predictions
India 3-0 Afghanistan
- 20.78 %
India 9-0 Afghanistan
- 7.79 %
India 2-0 Afghanistan
- 7.79 %
|SAFF Championship (SAFF)||11-Sep-2013||Afghanistan 2 - India 0|
|SAFF Championship (SAFF)||11-Dec-2011||India 4 - Afghanistan 0|
|SAFF Championship (SAFF)||03-Dec-2011||India 1 - Afghanistan 1|
|Asia - AFC Challenge Cup 2008 (ACC)||30-Jul-2008||India 1 - Afghanistan 0|
|19-Nov-2013||India 2 - Nepal 0||FR|
|15-Nov-2013||India 1 - Philippines 1||FR|
|11-Sep-2013||Afghanistan 2 - India 0||SAFF|
|09-Sep-2013||Maldives 0 - India 1||SAFF|
|05-Sep-2013||India 1 - Nepal 2||SAFF|
|-||Syed Rahim Nabi|
|-||Gurpreet Singh Sandhu|
|25||Subhasish Roy Chowdhury||Goalkeeper|