The neighbouring countries will renew a traditional rivalry that transcends football itself.
The Indian women football team will kickstart its 2022 SAFF Women’s Championship campaign against Pakistan on 7 September 2022. This rivalry attracts a lot of attention – whether it is football or any other sport. Despite India being heavy favourites on paper, football has a way of seeing upsets when one least expects them.
Nepal is the host country for the tournament that will witness seven countries vie for the ultimate glory. There is a lot of quality in each team and it will be hard for the Indian players to retain their title. The opener could be a banana skin for the defending champions, one they hope to avoid slipping upon.
The Dasarath Rangasala Stadium will be the venue for this mouth-watering clash. Here is what to expect from India vs Pakistan in Group A of the 2022 SAFF Women’s Championship.
This is a fixture that holds immense importance due to political, geographical and historical reasons between the nations. Despite the difference between India (58) and Pakistan (NR) in terms of FIFA rankings and the overall quality of the squad, it will be a competitive clash. Indian women’s team head coach Suren Chhetri will hope players can deliver a good performance and record a convincing win in their SAFF opener.
The Pakistan women’s national team is making a return to international football after eight years. This hiatus was due to recurring bans imposed by world football’s governing body FIFA on the Pakistan Football Federation. It will be a historic moment for the players who will hope to make it a memorable day for fans back home.
The Indian team has several high-profile players such as Aditi Chauhan and Dangmei Grace in their ranks with Ashalata Devi leading the team. Pakistan has a player in Nadia Khan who plays club football in England. It will be interesting to see how the Pakistani team lines up ahead of their first international game after eight long years.
India: Aditi Chauhan (GK), Ashalata Devi, Sweety Devi, Ritu Rani, Manisa Panna, Anju Tamang, Priyangka Devi, Martina Thokchom, Dangmei Grace, Apurna Narzary, Soumya Guguloth.
Pakistan: Syeda Mahpara(GK), Malika-E-Noor, Sahar Zaman, Shanza Nazir, Sara Khan, Maria Khan, Hajra Khan, Maliha Nasir, Zulfia Nazir, Nadia Khan, Roshnan Ali.
Player to Watch
Dangmei Grace (India)
The Indian team has a sensational attacker in Dangmei Grace. She is currently playing club football for Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf Qarshi. She played a crucial role in Gokulam Kerala FC’s 2021-22 Indian Women’s League triumph.
The 26-year-old was part of the Indian team that won both the 2016 and 2019 editions of the SAFF Women’s Championship. She has to play a key role if the Blue Tigresses are to retain their title.
Nadia Khan (Pakistan)
One of the players to watch out for from their squad is Nadia Khan, who plays for Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies Football Club in England. She will become one of the first British-Pakistani women to play international football for Pakistan.
Her experience of playing football in Europe will certainly give her an edge and make her a threat throughout the competition. She can play both as a midfielder and a forward and will be a stern challenge to Ashalata and Co.
Did you know?
- Soumya Guguloth and Jyoti Chauhan recently signed for Dinamo Zagreb.
- Nadia Ali will be playing her debut match for Pakistan.
- Dangmei Grace scored her debut goal for FC Nassaf a few weeks back.
- Nadia Ali plays for Doncaster Rovers FC in England.
Live streaming of the 2022 SAFF Women’s Championship will be available on Eleven Sports.
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