Football squad reaches Katmandu
KABUL (PAN): The national football team on Wednesday landed in Katmandu to participate in the South Asian Football Federation Championship beginning in the Nepalese capital on Saturday, an official said.
Afghanistan Football Federation official Ali Kazimi told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone from Katmandu the Afghan squad was warmly received by the Nepal Football Federation office-bearers upon its arrival there.
The Afghan side, comprising 12 players and six officials, would be joined by another five footballers a day later, he said.
Eight teams from the South Asian region are taking part in the tournament in Nepal, which was selected as hosts in September 2012 during the 2012 SAFF Women’s Championship in Sari Lanka.
This is for the second time Nepal is hosting the SAFF Championship after doing so in 1997 edition.
The teams have been divided into two groups and Afghanistan are placed in group-B with the Maldives, Bhutan and Sari Lanka. The group-A includes Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Ali said Afghanistan would play their opening match against Bhutan on September 2 and against the Maldives on Sept. 6. He said the national side had gone through a tough training session ahead of the tournament.
Footballer Syed Hadi said Afghanistan had been in high morale after they defeated Pakistan in a historic friendly in Kabul earlier in the month.
Afghanistan finished runners-up in the previous edition in 2011, when they tied with India and defeated Nepal and Bhutan. The Afghans defeated Sari Lanka in the semifinal, but lost to India in the final.
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