Defending champions Pakistan will open their South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) U16 Championship campaign against Afghanistan in Kathmandu today.
Pakistan, the defending champions placed in Group A, are pitted against Afghanistan, hosts Nepal and Bhutan. In Group B, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will contest for a place in the last-four. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.
Pakistan coach Sajjad Mehmood said he was confident the team would win for the second time in a row after they prevailed over archrivals India 2-1 in the first SAFF U16 Championship in 2011.
“We have the ability to win the event again,” Mehmood told The Express Tribune. “Apart from aiming for the title-defense, we are also looking to prepare our team for the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship qualifiers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2013.