BD drawn against India, Afghanistan
Bangladesh have been drawn along with holders India in the 4th South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women's Championship at the draw of the seven-team women's tournament which was held at the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) House yesterday.
Afghanistan are the other team in Bangladesh's group, Group B, while last edition's runners-up Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan were pitted against each other in Group A. The Championship will start in Shiliguri, India from December 26.
“Generally the host nation stages the draw of the tournament but this time AIFF [All Indian Football Federation] requested the SAFF secretariat to complete the draw. All the participating teams were also invited to attend the ceremony but we received no positive responses,” said SAFF general secretary Anwarul Haque Helal at the BFF House before holding the draw in the presence of SAFF president Kazi Salahuddin.
Bangladesh will start their campaign by taking on Afghanistan on December 29 before playing against India on December 31.
“As BFF president, I don't have any big ambitions from the national women's team at the moment. Instead I want to see how they compete against other opponents as the national women's team will feature a majority of under-16 players.
“Our ultimate target is to perform well in the AFC U-16 Women's Championship next September and we are taking the SAFF Women's Championship as a preparatory tournament for the AFC championship,” concluded Salahuddin.
When queried, Anwarul Haque informed that the regional football body plans to hold five youth tournaments, including two women's tournaments, as FIFA will allocate 1 million dollars per year for youth tournaments.
GROUP A: Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan
GROUP B: India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan