New Delhi: The stage is set for an exciting display of youth football talent as the draw for the SAFF U16 Championship and SAFF U19 Championship 2023 took place at the BFF House in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Saturday.
In the SAFF U16 Championship, India finds itself in Group A, where it will lock horns with Nepal and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, hosts Bhutan, the Maldives, and Pakistan have been drawn in Group B. The much-anticipated tournament is scheduled to take place at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu from September 1 to September 10, 2023, as confirmed in the AIFF press release.
Similarly, in the SAFF U19 Championship 2023, India’s U19 team will face tough challenges from Bhutan and Bangladesh in Group B. The host nation, Nepal, will compete in Group A alongside the Maldives and Pakistan. Kathmandu’s Dashrath Stadium will witness the action-packed championship from September 21 to September 30, 2023.
Both competitions will follow the same format, commencing with a single round-robin group stage. After fierce battles among the teams, the top two from each group will qualify for the semi-finals, and the winners of these semis will face off in the ultimate clash to claim the championship trophy.
India’s youth football teams have been on a stellar run in the SAFF tournaments. They emerged victorious in both the U20 and U17 categories during the 2022 SAFF youth events. The U20 squad displayed a dominant performance, defeating Bangladesh 5-2 in the final held in Bhubaneswar. Simultaneously, the U17 team secured a resounding victory against Nepal with a 4-0 scoreline in the summit clash in Colombo, Sri Lanka.