The Maldives National Team has commenced training for the SAFF Championship football tournament on.
The SAFF Championship is to be held from June 21 – July 4 in Bengaluru, India.
Maldives football season was halted on Saturday, in preparation for the tournament.
The 30-player squad kicked off their training at Galolhu Stadium on Sunday evening.
Practices are to proceed until June 4, with the national squad set to depart to Japan for training the next day.
The national team will set off to India for the tournament directly from Japan after training concludes.
Ahead of the tournament, the Maldives’ team is also looking to play friendly matches and camp abroad.
Maldives is placed in the same group as Lebanon, Bangladesh and Bhutan this SAFF Championship.
The next group in the tournament comprises of champion team India, Pakistan, Kuwait and Nepal.
Maldives is set to go head-to-head with Bhutan in its first match scheduled for June 22.
The national team’s second game will be against Bangladesh, on June 25.
On June 28, Maldives will go head-to-head with Lebanon.
This will mark the first SAFF Championship involving teams from outside the region, with Lebanon and Kuwait competing under a special invitation.
The season was halted after three games were observed by each team in the President’s Cup and the Dhivehi Premier League (DLP).
Following these games, the national team coach, Italian national Francesco Moriero and his aides formed a squad comprising of 30 players. The squad comprises five players who have made it to the squad for the very first time. Football star and former national team captain Ali Ashfaq and Akram Abdul Ghani are not included in the squad this time round as they are currently unfit to play.
India became the champions of the biggest football carnival in the South Asia region, the “Ooredoo SAFF Championship 2021” after beating Nepal two years back. Maldives fell to the third spot in the league table after losing to India that time round.
Maldives brought home the championship for the first time in 2008. The country also brought home the cup in the SAFF championship held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2018. That time Maldives beat India in the finals.