Lahore, 10 December: Pakistan Women team football team’s captain Sana Mehmood feels the 18-player team has a good chance against the all the seven rivals. “we aimed a semi-final berth as we gears up for the SAFF Women Football Championship. During camp at Punjab Stadium and MTFA Ground, the team has worked very hard on their combination and different game plans. Each player was upto task but the biggest challenge for them has been to learn about playing as a group and finding the best combination against the regional teams.
Eight teams will go all out for the winning trophy when the first-ever SAFF Women Championship 2010 will be held at Bangladesh. Apart from the SA Games women’s football gold medalists India, Bangladesh will also have to put up with the challenges of Sri Lanka and Bhutan in Group A while Group B consists of SA Games silver medallists Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan landed at Chittagong on Thursday night while Maldives arrived in Chittagong on Wednesday. Earlier, Bhutanese were the first to reach Bangladesh on December 5.
“The SAFF Women’s Football Championship is going to be held for the first time because of the sincere efforts from new SAFF president Kazi Salahuddin, who is also the chief of BFF, and SAFF have chosen Cox’s Bazar to introduce the world’s longest sea beach to the guests,” said SAFF SVP Khadim Ali Shah who added that India are expected to face Bhutan in the opening match on December 12 tho.
Pakistani skipper Sana Mahmood added a stopper from National Champion Young Rising Star, added that all eight members of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) have put forward their women’s team to play the first-ever tournament under the SAFF banner at Cox’s Bazar, although five nations — India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took part during the SA Games earlier this year. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals, scheduled for December 20 and 21 while the final is slated for December 23.
“As no SAFF women’s football championship was held earlier, so we have considered the teams’ performance of the South Asian Games. Champions India and runners-up Nepal have been kept in two separate groups while third and fourth place finishers Bangladesh and Pakistan have also been kept apart,” said Pakistani team coach Tariq Turfi who will be assisted by manager Nadia Naqvi, assistant coach Kiran Illyas and Saba Noureen ( Doctor) during 12-day show.
In the draw, singer Akhi Alamgir picked Sri Lanka, national coach Robert Rubcic then chose Afghanistan, Akku Chowdhury, executive director of KFC, singled out Bhutan while Syed Faruque Ahmed, chairman of aamra networks, picked the last choice of Maldives, all through lotteries. Apart from the drawing ceremony, the local organising committee has also signed agreements with KFC and aamra networks as the official partners. KFC will provide 15,000 dollars while aamra networks will provide internet services during the championship
Pakistani team is comprised of Sana Mahmood (Young Rising Star) Captain, Asmaa Usman (HEC) VC, Syeda Mahapara, Malaika Noor, Asmara Habib, Sahar Zaman (Young Rising Star), Shumaila Sattar, Naila Rana, Humera Nazir, Nadia Bhatti (WAPDA), Mehwish Khan, Hajra Khan, Marium Laghari (Diya FC), Shahida Ghulam Raza, Shelyla Baloch (Balochistan United), Mejzgaan Orakzai, Abeeha Haider (Islamabad), Ishrat Fatima ( Sports Sciences).