India v Pakistan headline SAFF Championship; Sri Lanka misses out

SAFF Championship 2023


India v Pakistan will headline the opening day of the SAFF Championship 2023, which will be held from 21st June to 4th July in Bangalore, India.

Sri Lanka misses out on the tournament after being suspended by FIFA from 21st January. South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) has invited Kuwait and Lebanon to participate in the tournament.

Hosts India have been drawn in the Group A of the tournament alongside Kuwait, Nepal and archrivals Pakistan. 2018 Champions Maldives are drawn in Group B, which includes Lebanon, Bhutan and Bangaldesh.

  • Group A – India, Kuwait, Nepal & Pakistan
  • Group B – Lebanon, Bhutan, Bangladesh & Maldives

In the SAFF Championship, India will meet Pakistan for the first time in five years. The two teams last faced off in the 2018 SAFF Championship Semi-finals. India triumphed 3-1.


Pakistan is rejoining the SAFF fold after missing out on two of the 13 tournaments that have been played since 1993. Due to internal problems, the Pakistan Football Federation was unable to send a side to the 2015 tournament in India. The nation missed the 2021 edition Due to their FIFA suspension. The ban was removed last year.

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