LOC Chairman and Senior Vice-president of the BFF Abdus Salam Murshedy speaking at a press conference at the BFF House on Friday. Photo: UNB
Dhaka, Aug 31 (UNB) - The preparations of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) are going on in full swing to smoothly arrange the 12th edition of the SAFF Championship, now known as SAFF Suzuki Cup, which will kick off at Bangabandhu National Stadium (BNS) here on September 4.
LOC Chairman and Senior Vice-president of the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Abdus Salam Murshedy on Friday said, “We have lapses in some areas of our preparations, including the renovation of seats at the stadium with a capacity of 23,000 audience. But we hope to successfully hold the event with our best efforts.”
The LOC chairman was talking to reporters at a press conference at the BFF House.
Of the participating nations, Sri Lanka are already in the capital after their FIFA Friendly match against Bangladesh at Sheikh Kamal Stadium in Nilphamari on August 28 which they won 1-0, arriving here on August 26.
Bhutan and Nepal are scheduled to arrive here on September 2 while India and the Maldives on September 3. The schedule of Pakistan’s arrival is yet to be confirmed.
Abahani Club playground, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club playground, Dhanmondi, Navy playground and ABPN playground have been designated for team practice.
The participating teams will stay at three hotels -- The Westin, FARS Hotel and Hotel Purbani.
Tickets -- Tk 100 for VIP Box, Tk 50 and Tk 20 for galleries -- for the tournament will be available at the BFF House, BNS and Dhaka Metropolitan Football League Committee office from Saturday.
Salam Murshedy expressed optimism to revive their glory of Bangladesh football through a successful campaign in the tournament, though the hosts had no much sounding achievement in recent times.
“I hope Bangladesh will play the final. We need only a winning start to bring back our football loving-people to the stadium as I believe football is still a popular game in Bangladesh,” he added.
Bangladesh have been seeded in the Group A to play against Bhutan, Pakistan and Nepal on September 4, 6 and 8 in the group stage matches respectively. Nepal will face Pakistan in the biennial tournament opener.
Defending champions India will face Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the Group B matches on September 5 and 9.
On completion of the group stage battles, top two teams from each group will qualify for the semifinals to play on September 12 before the final on September 15.
This is the third time -- after 2003 and 2009 -- Bangladesh is going to host the event since its inception in 1993.
Bangladesh tasted title once in 2003 when they defeated the Maldives 1(5)-1(3) in the final in penalty shootout at home.