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All teams express confidence of a good showing

Bhubaneshwor

24 July 2022

All the participating teams of the SAFF U-20 Championship taking place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubansehwor from 25th July – 5th August have expressed their confidence of a good showing.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, the coaches thanked the SAFF for taking the initiative to organize the competition ahead of the AFC U-20 Championship 2022 Qualifiers taking place from October. They all expressed their belief that SAFF competitions would keep them in shape for the AFC event.

Bangladesh head coach Paul Smalley Thomas said that his team has prepared well for the competition and with mixture of players currently playing in the top division league of the country, Bangladesh will be able to give a tough fight to all the participating teams. He further added that Bangladesh was looking to avenge the defeat it had suffered to India in the final of the SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship that took place in February earlier this year.

All focus has been in the preparations of the Sri Lankan team due to the prevailing economic crisis in the country, but Sri Lanka team coach Rajamany Devasagayam said his team was in excellent shape for the event and their preparations was not effected even a bit by the ongoing situation.

“The football situation has nothing do with what is happening in country. In a short period of time we have prepared very well for the competition and we hope we can produce good results,” he added.

Maldives had most of their players busy in the top division league, and due to the players’ busy schedule they were not able to dedicate much of their time to train as a team.

Maldives coach Ahmed Shaikr added, “I personally feel India is a good side because they have been together for about 2-3 years. We have three players that were selected in the preliminary squad of the national team. I am very much looking forward to the competition.”

Nepal coach Megh Raj KC has trained the squad for almost two months and thinks his side can produce good results.

“We are here to win, but we respect all participating teams,” he said, adding that the first match against Maldives would be tough and can produce a winning result with a little effort.

India coach Shanmugam Venkatesh said he would treat each match as a final match and treats all teams equally.

Nepal take on Maldives on the opening match, while Sri Lanka open their campaign against Bangladesh. India’s first match is against Sri Lanka on 27 July.

This is the first time the SAFF U-20 Championship is being organized. The format is introduced following AFC’s introduction of the AFC U-20 Championship.