Sports Reporter – DAWN
KARACHI, July 19: Pakistan will begin the defence of their SAFF U-16 title against Afghanistan in their group ‘A’ opener in Kathmandu on Saturday.
Winners of the inaugural SAFF U-16 Championship in 2011, Pakistan were drawn in group ‘A’ alongside hosts Nepal and Bhutan on Friday. Group ‘B’, meanwhile, will have three teams – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, with the final set for July 30.
Pakistan are looking to create history by winning the tournament twice in a row. And coach Sajjad Mehmood is confident his boys can achieve that feat.
“We will try our best to defend the title as it will provide us with ideal an preparation for the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers,” he said in comments reported by givemegoal website at the press conference on Friday.
Nepal will kick off the tournament with their fixture against Bhutan.
Nepal coach Bal Gopal Maharjan is hoping his side take advantage of home conditions and win the title.
“It is an opportunity for us — as well as a challenge for us — to do well in front of the home ground,” he told the Himalayan Times. “Our aim is to win the championship.”
Pakistan’s fixtures: July 20: Pakistan v Afghanistan.
July 22: Pakistan v Bhutan.
July 24: Pakistan v Nepal.