Maldives players to watch out for


It has been 10 years since Maldives won the SAFF Suzuki Cup but the tiny island nation will enter the competition in Bangladesh with hope, boosted by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's words of encouragement.

President Gayoom recently emphasized that Maldives winning the tournament in 2008 was proof that the country boasts the top football talents in the South Asian region and that the aim for the National Team is to repeat the accomplishment.

Here are three players who could help the nation's prospects in September:

Naiz Hassan
At just 22, Naiz might be among the younger members of the squad, but has already proved himself vital to the team's attack. The four goals he scored against Bhutan in the teams' final AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 qualifying match in March earlier this year illustrated the player's prowess, both as a goal scorer and as a playmaker. Maldives fans will be relying on 'Dhaadhu' to provide the necessary creative spark at the SAFF Suzuki Cup.

Hamza Mohamed
The 23-year-old winger, affectionately known as 'Hampu', will play a key role in Petar Segrt plans in the upcoming championship. Mohamed is speedy on the flanks and can retain the ball in tight spaces, making him difficult to contain. He also likes to move inside from the wings and can form an effective understanding with the attackers. His overall game is strong and the work he puts in during matches is what stands out in particular.

Akram Abdul Ghanee
Defender Akram Abdul Ghanee has been a mainstay in the Maldives national team for a while and the 31-year-old's experience will once again be valuable for the team in Bangladesh - especially in the absence of talismanic striker, Ali Ashfaq. His precision in closing down tight spaces will be important and coach Segrt will be counting on the New Radiant SC centre back to shrewdly read the game.

Match Report: Maldives 2 – 1 India
Maldives defeated defending champions India 2-1 to lift the SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
Match Preview: Maldives vs India
The 2018 SAFF Suzuki Cup final will be played between two teams who have faced each other more than any other in the competition’s history: Maldives and India.
Match Report: India 3-1 Pakistan
Defending champions India registered a 3-1 victory over Pakistan in a hotly contested SAFF Suzuki Cup 2018 semi-final.
Final: Maldives vs India (Highlights)
Semi final: India vs Pakistan (Highlights)
Semi final: Nepal vs Maldives (Highlights)