All you need to know about India's SAFF U-20 Championship campaign

Head Coach Shanmugam Venkatesh talking to the players during training. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)
Head Coach Shanmugam Venkatesh talking to the players during training. (Image Courtesy: Twitter/IndianFootball)

The Blue Tigers will kick off their title quest in the fourth edition of the SAFF U-20 Championship on Wednesday (July 27). Also in the fray are Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

The competition, which is being hosted by India, kicked off on Monday (July 25) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, with two-time champions Nepal registering a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Maldives.

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India under head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh are the defending champions and are touted as the clear favorites.

The SAFF U-20 Championship will serve as preparation for the AFC U-20 Asian Cup Qualifiers, which are set to take place in September.

Venkatesh said:

"It's always important to start any tournament on a positive note. Not only does it give you the confidence to iron out any early jitters, but it also gives you a momentum, which you can build on."

Meanwhile, Bangladesh kicked off their campaign with a victory against Sri Lanka. Mirajul Islam scored the lone goal of the game in the 71st minute. Bangladesh head coach and technical director Paul Smalley Thomas opined that India are going to be more competitive than the other teams at the South Asian level.

India's Fixtures for SAFF U-20 Championship

Bangladesh vs India (July 27, 4.00 pm IST)

India vs Sri Lanka (July 29, 4.00 pm IST)

Nepal vs India (July 31, 7.00 pm IST)

India vs Maldives (August 2, 7.00 pm IST)

Final (Group Champion 1 vs Group Champion 2) (August 5, 7.00 pm IST)

India's Squad for SAFF U-20 Championship

Only players born on or after 1 January 2003 are eligible to compete in the tournament. Each team had to register a squad of a minimum of 16 players and a maximum of 23 players with at least two goalkeepers.

Goalkeepers: Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari, Mohit Singh Dhami, Som Kumar.

Defenders: Amandeep, Halen Nongtdu, Bikash Yumnam, Sajad Hussain Parray, Raj Basfore, Brijesh Giri, Tankadhar Bag, Pritam Meetei Sorokhaibam.

Midfielders: Sibajit Singh Leimapokpam, Vibin Mohanan, Vinay Harji, Maheson Singh Tongbram, Sujit Singh, Harsh Sailesh Patre, Taison Singh Loitongbam, Macarton Louis Nickson.

Forwards: Gurkirat Singh, Parthib Sundar Gogoi, Himanshu Jangra, Shubho Paul.

Head Coach: Shanmugam Venkatesh.

Where to watch India's matches in SAFF U-20 Championship

India are all set to fight for their crown against Nepal,Bangladesh,Maldives and Sri Lanka in the fourth edition of SAFF U-20 Championship, which begins on 25th July. Catch all the action from Bhubaneswar, Odisha live and exclusive on the Sportzworkz YouTube channel.

All the matches of the SAFF U-20 Championship 2022 will be live streamed on the Sportzworks YouTube channel and on the Eleven Sports platform.

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Edited by Puranjay
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