K. Male'
30 Jun 2023 | Fri 16:32
Maldives VS Lebanon match
Maldives VS Lebanon match
SAFF Championship 2023
SAFF Championship: Maldives team to return home after watching the semifinals
The team will return home on Monday
The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday
Maldives was eliminated from the championship on Wednesday

The Maldives national football team will be returning home after watching the semifinals of the ongoing SAFF Championship.

The team decided to stay back and watch the semifinals before returning home on Monday.

Maldives faced a historic defeat on Wednesday after being eliminated from the SAFF Championship, before reaching the semifinals.

Lebanon and Bangladesh have secured spots in the semifinals, scheduled for Saturday. The final game will be held on July 4.

The Maldives’ team manager, Abdulla Shibau has confirmed that the players will return home after attending the two semifinal games on Saturday.

This marks the first time the country has been knocked off the SAFF Championship at the group stage.

One of the biggest failures for the Maldives was its embarrassing defeat to Bangladesh for the first time in 20 years in SAFF history.

Maldives faced the historic defeat at a time the sport has been on a downward spiral in the archipelago nation.

As such, the Football Association of the Maldives (FAM) is in a massive financial strain alongside the clubs, with Maldivian football league also plummeting. FAM is buried in a pit of struggles both financially and administratively.

Although FAM’s management is seen deteriorating with each passing day, the association has not been taking concrete steps to resolve the issue and take back control.

This resulted in Maldives going into the tournament without playing a single match prior to departing.

Out of the three group stage matches played in the tournament, Maldives was only able to beat Bhutan, the weakest country in the SAARC region.

Maldives lost its second match to Bangladesh, marking the first time in the past 20 years that the country has been defeated by Bangladesh.

Maldives lost its third match, to Lebanon on Wednesday.

Lebanon will go head-to-head against India, the team in the second spot of Group A in the semis, with Bangladesh scheduled to go up against Kuwait, the team topping Group A, in the semifinals.

Bangladesh has progressed to the semifinals for the first time after being eliminated from the group stage in their last five semifinals. Bhutan reached the semifinals of the tournament only once, 15 years ago.

The SAFF Championship is being held from June 21 – July 4 in Bengaluru, India.

This will mark the first SAFF Championship involving teams from outside the region, with Lebanon and Kuwait competing under a special invitation.

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.

Last updated at: 9 months ago
Reviewed by: Fathimath Zuhaira