Nirmal Chettri wants to win a hat-trick of SAFF Championship titles with India

The Indian stopper-back is pleased that the Tajikistan friendly is on a FIFA stipulated date and wants to win the SAFF Championship for the third consecutive time...
India are placed in Group A of the 2013 SAFF Championship, which kicks off with a match against Pakistan on 1st September, while hosts Nepal and Bangladesh are the other two teams in the group.

Meanwhile Group B have the likes of Afghanistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan competing against each other.

"We are looking forward to playing in it (SAFF Championship) and winning. I have already won two SAFF championships (2009 and 2011) and I hope God will help us win this too," Chettri told reporters.

"Hopefully we will give 100 per cent and we are all looking forward to this tournament as there are not many later," he added.


The Men in Blue have an international friendly against Tajikistan, who are 31 places above India (145) in the latest FIFA Rankings, as part of the preparations for the upcoming competition for Wim Koevermans' side.

"Yes, they (Tajikistan) are ranked higher than us but we are going with a positive mindset and I hope something good will come out," he commented.

"After a long time we are getting to play a friendly match. It's good it's played on a FIFA date. It will be a tough match for us. We have not played for quite a long time."

The 22-year-old believes that India should hence make the best of the rare opportunity, at least in the past couple of months, to improve their FIFA Rankings.

"For getting our rankings higher, we need to play more friendly matches on FIFA stipulated dates. When you play matches on FIFA dates it will help us go up higher in rankings. When you get to play against good teams you can get better.

"I hope it will help us prepare well for the SAFF Cup," the former Mohun Bagan player stated. He also felt that playing in the high altitude area of Kathmandu (4,600 feet above sea level) won't pose much of a problem.

"I don't think Kathmandu has so much of altitude. I don't think it will be a problem. We are used to playing at Gangtok, in Manipur as well as in Shillong. That experience will help us," he said.

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