THE SOUTH ASIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION (SAFF) HAS long been planning to launch a club competition, and it seems we're finally about to see it come to fruition.
The SAFF Club Championship, which will pit clubs from South Asian nations India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan against each other, is expected to kick off its inaugural edition in 2023.
The two clubs representing India will by Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters, the finalists of the Indian Super League playoff tournament in 2021-22.
From Nepal, the representative team will be Macchindra Football Club, the champions of the Martyr's Memorial A-Division League, the top flight league of Nepal, in 2021-22.
Bangladesh will host the event. And from the host country, we're likely to see Bashundhara Kings, the champions of Bangladesh Premier League 2021-22, participate in the competition along with Abahani Limited Dhaka, the runers up.
Maldives will also field two clubs in the competition; the Dhivehi Premier League champions Maziya Sports and Recreation Club and runners up Club Eagles.
From Bhutan, Paro FC will play in the tournament, having won the Bhutan Premier League 2021-22. From Sri Lanka, Blue Star SC, who won the Sri Lanka Super League 2020-21, will play.
For Pakistan, it will be a return to international club competitions for the first time since 2016 when K-Electric FC played in the AFC Cup qualifying playoffs. WAPDA FC (Water and Power Development Authority Football Club) will represent the country in the SAFF Club Championship.