Holders of the SAFF trophy, India realized their path to retaining their cup today with Pakistan amongst the key adversaries in their group....
The draw for the group stages of the SAFF Championship was conducted at a glittering event in Kathmandu, Nepal, and was covered LIVE by Goal. The highlight of the draw being that archrivals India and Pakistan will face off in the cluster they have been assigned to, quite literally the group of death.
The event kicked off by encomiums and charitable words spoken by chief guests of the event - Mohammed Salauddin, SAFF President, Ganesh Thapa, Nepalese Football Association President, Yuvraj Lama, National Sports Council member secretary of Nepal, and Alberto Colaco, General Secretary of the SAFF body.
The winners and runner-ups of last year’s tournament were picked up at first and placed in two different groups. So India was in Group A, position 1 whereas Group B position was filled by 1 Afghanistan.
Thereafter came last year’s losing semi-finalists Nepal who were assigned position 2 in Group A in a lottery, followed by Maldives, in Group B position 2.
The rest of the four teams were picked up at random along with the positions and groups they will be allotted.
So next out of the pot were Bangladesh and Sri Lanka who were assigned position 3 in Group A and B respectively.
Bhutan was drawn out next to join Group B while the only remaining team, namely Pakistan, completed Group A.
The final list of groups and teams laid out as follows:
|SAFF Championship 2013 Draw
|POSITION||GROUP A||GROUP B|
The highlight of the draw seemed to be the inevitable meeting of India and Pakistan. India will need all their might to go forth and hold claim to their crown especially with the bag of tricks their group represents. Pakistan will look to hold their own, like other teams in the group and look to progress themselves.
Last year’s tournament finalists Afghanistan will be licking their lips with renewed optimism of getting out of the groups and into the semi-final as a minimum benchmark.
The tournament, which first kicked off in 1997, has had India win it the maximum number of times with 6 titles already in their bag and will be looking to add to their haul. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives all follow suit with one win each.
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