By Susil Premalal
The South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Suzuki Cup 2021 tournament which was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic last year is scheduled to be held from September 14 to 25 at the National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
It was earlier scheduled to be held from September 19 to 30 last year but could not be held because of the viral outbreak.
The new dates were unanimously agreed following a zoom meeting conducted by SAFF executive committee with all its seven member countries.
India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan took part in the SAFF executive committee meeting.
Sri Lanka will prepare for this tournament after competing in the three FIFA World Cup 2020 Asian Second Round qualifiers and the conclusion of the inaugural Lanka Super League on July 31, according to Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) General Secretary Jaswar Umar.
A 22-member national football pool is currently in training.
The three World Cup qualifying matches will be against North Korea (March 25), South Korea (March 31) and Lebanon (June 5) but the main focus of the national team is to win the SAFF Cup after 26 years.
India won the inaugural SAFF tournament in 1993. This is the 13th edition of the tournament. This is the fourth time Bangladesh is hosting the tournament after holding it in 2003, 2009 and 2018.
Sri Lanka won the tournament for the first and only time in 1995 when it was hosted in Colombo while emerging runner-up in 1993. India have won the title on seven occasions and Maldives once.