Sabtu, 17 Juli 2010

2011 SAFF Cup in India?

Will India play hosts to the next edition of the South Asian Football Federation Championships, in short the SAFF Cup? As per the plans and wishes of the South Asian Football Federation India could host next years championships. But if the AIFF will be willing to play host for south Asia's biggest football tournament is not known at this moment.

The last edition of the SAFF Cup was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2009 with record champions India winning back the title. And what made the title victory more commendable was that India played the tournament with its Under-23 national team, beating the senior sides of their south Asian rivals and also giving the youngsters much needed big match exposure.

But as per original plans the 2009 edition of the SAFF Cup was supposed to be played in Goa, but India pulled out as hosts due to political tensions between India and Pakistan. This tension resulted in the Indian government being unwilling to grant the Pakistani team the necessary visas to enter the country. At that stage Bangladesh stepped in and offered to host the championships, so Dhaka went on to host the championships.

The tournament promoters World Sports Group and its major sponsors want south Asia's show piece tournament to be held in India. And that happens to be logical as India is the biggest and most developed football market in the region. So it looks likely that India would be asked to host the next edition of the eight nation championships in which Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka face each other.

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