The twelfth edition of SAFF Championships, the battle of sub-continental football supremacy starts with the match between Pakistan and Nepal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka at 4:00 pm BST. Hosts Bangladesh and Bhutan follow suit in the second match at 7:00 pm BST in the same day.
The coaches and the players appeared eager to set their foots in the pitch and bask in glory in the pre-match conference held at the BFF House on Monday, 3 September 2018.
Jamie Day, Coach, Bangladesh
For the last four months we have been focusing upon the tournament and toured Qatar, Korea and Indonesia, the boys are fully prepared for the challenges, we want to top play a good brand of football, we are the hosts and people have expectations upon the team but we are not taking any pressure, we want to play our best football against Bhutan in the opener, we are not thinking about any revenge or something like that, we are focused to play match by match and move forward.
Bangladesh has won one drew one and lost one against Bhutan in the SAFF Championships till date.
Nasiruddin Chowdhury, defender
Bangladesh won the SAFF Championship back in 2003, we want to repeat the feat and rewrite the history, and all the players are ready to give more than their hundred percent in their own yard and in front of their own people.
Bangladesh will adopt a strategy of new match new captains.
Trevor Morgan, Coach, Bhutan
As the hosts Bangladesh are the favourites in the opener but Bhutan will be relying on the firepower of their young guns, they are raring to go, Bhutan have gone through hard working sessions focusing upon playing better football. We want to change the perception of what people think, we will be taking the field to win. There are 17 new players in the squad who are eager to show their prowess. We eye a semifinal slot.
Karma Shedrup Tshering, Captain, Bhutan
Bhutan respects Bangladesh but are not afraid, the team has taken the required preparation for the SAFF Championships and will be fighting till the end. The young team has the firepower to surprise any team and they want to prove their worth in the field.
Bal Gopal Maharjan, Coach, Nepal
Nepal won its first international title in 23 years, beating nine-man Bahrain 3-0 in the final of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka in January 2016 and coach Bal Gopal Maharjan eyes another jewel in his crown. “We have not won the SAFF title yet so why not target the title this time, we have prepared well for the last three months and the conditions and the rivals are known to us, I am satisfied with the player’s response and now we are ready to fight eyeing the title.
Biraj Maharjan, Captain, Nepal
The team has the ideal mixture of youth and experience and Nepal is a confident team believing their own prowess. They are a bunch of motivated group and the spirit is high. Nepal definitely wants to win the title.
Jose Antonio Nogueira, Coach Brazil
Pakistan has been out of the international circuit for three years and it’s not possible to remove the vacuum out within a short span of time. But the recent proceedings are encouraging as Pakistan beat Nepal in the Asian Games, however the level is different here but Pakistan looks forward towards a glant show in the tournament. We believe we can reach the knockout stage.
Saddam Hossain, Captain Pakistan
There are six players who played the last edition of the SAFF Championships and there are some new comers, though Pakistan was out of the international circuit for a couple of years we are not looking back, rather we are looking forward to put a good show and return to the track.