One of the international football rivalries in Asia is the one between the national football teams of India and Pakistan.
After almost five years, India and Pakistan are about to revive their football rivalry. Because the two neighbours were placed in the same group for the SAFF Cup. It will be played in Bengaluru from June 21 to July 4.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals of the eight-nation regional competition. It will be at the Kanteerava Stadium. The group games are played in a round-robin league style.
To boost the ante, the tournament was open to the two countries from outside of South Asia, Kuwait and Lebanon. The lowest-ranked team in the competition is Pakistan ranks 195th, while Lebanon ranks best above all at 99th overall. India is the second-highest squad, ranking 101st overall.
On June 21, following Kuwait’s encounter against Nepal in the opening game, the Indo-Pak Group A match will take place.
Mr Chaubey, at the start of the draw ceremony, said, “I would like to convey my deep gratitude to the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) for acquiescing our request of inviting more countries from outside the South Asian region to participate in this Championship. I feel that the addition of Kuwait and Lebanon will help make the Championship more competitive. And I am deeply thankful to the SAFF for taking our recommendation into consideration.”
India and Pakistan match stats
The semifinal of the 12th edition of the SAFF Cup was in Dhaka in September 2018. India and Pakistan last faced off there. They defeated Maldives 1-2 in the championship game despite winning that match 3-1.
India and Pakistan have faced off in over 20 recognised international matches. India has been the more successful of the two teams, having amassed over a dozen victories.
They have been placed second in the SAFF Cup four times while winning it eight times. India only missed the final once, in the fifth edition in 2003 in Dhaka, when it finished third.
Pakistan has not taken part in two of the 13 tournaments held since 1993.
Due to internal problems, the Pakistan Football Federation was unable to send a side to the 2015 tournament in India. Due to the FIFA suspension, the nation was unable to attend the 2021 edition in the Maldives. FIFA repealed restriction in June of last year.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is optimistic that players with support personnel from Pakistan will be granted visas to participate in the competition.
India will serve as the SAFF tournament’s hosts in 2023. Together with Kuwait, Nepal, and Pakistan, India is a part of competition’s Group A. On May 17, 2023, in New Delhi, it took place during the official draw ceremony.
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