বৃহস্পতিবার, ১ অক্টোবর, ২০০৯

SAFF C'ship from Dec 4


The 6th SAFF Championship will be held in Dhaka from December 4 to 14, SAFF general secretary Sirajul Islam Bachchu disclosed at the BFF House yesterday. “The championship was initially slotted for Decem-ber 2-12, but with the consent from the member countries we have deferred it by two days because of the Eid-Ul-Azha [the second highest religious festival of Muslim community],” said Bachchu at a crowded press briefing where BFF president Kazi Salahuddin was also present.Salahuddin was actually the man behind bringing the biggest football festival of this region to Bangladesh for the second time after India relinquished its right host the meet following visa complications. The Indian government has stopped issuing visas to any Pakistan player, also a part of the eight-nation meet, following the Mumbai terrorist attack last year. “Bangladesh is lucky to host the SAFF Champion-ship for the second time,” said the SAFF general secretary, adding that the draw ceremony will take place on Saturday. Bangladesh won a two-way battle against Nepal to host the meet and Salahuddin is set to take the SAFF presidency on Saturday when the third SAFF congress takes place at Hotel Sheraton after the draw ceremony.A dynamic Salahuddin is the popular choice to take the hot seat from All Nepal Football Federation president Ganesh Thapa, who has been criticized for being inactive since taking over the SAFF presidency in 2001.“We promised to keep football in the field for 10 months in a year. We are now in a situation to believe that we can do it. And I just want to say that the awarding of the championship is recognition from other SAFF nation of our wholehearted effort,” said Salahuddin. “Now it our responsibility to make the championship a success so that in future we can ask the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that we are capable of hosting even bigger international tournaments.” Salahuddin also said that Bangladesh would be playing for the top position though the result in the last meet was not good.“Our target is to become number one though we finished seventh out of eight nations in the last meet. However, the players of the national team, who had practiced off-season under the head coach, looked quite fit and have been playing better in the ongoing Federation Cup so we can expect a good result from them in the SAFF Championship,” said Salahuddin. BFF senior vice president Salam Murshedi, vice presidents Sawkat Ali Khan Jahangir, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, general secretary Al Musabbir Sadi, members Harunur Rashid, Golam Rabbani Helal and Shafiqul Islam were among others present.