OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE - Bangladesh, 2003 champions and last version's runners-up, will meet Bhutan today in SAFF Championship in Colombo where co-hosts Sri Lanka are pitted against Afghanistan in the second match. Regional football powerhouses India and Bangladesh will be put to the test by the emerging nations of South Asia as seventh edition of the SAFF Football Championship had commenced at Maldives capital Male Tuesday with two Group-A matches. Although India and Bangladesh share the glory, though unevenly, in all four previous meets, they would be facing strong challenge from the two co-hosts as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan. The SAFF Championship will be so-hosted for the first time in June, 2008, giving the Maldives and Sri Lanka the opportunity to show off their organisational as well as footballing skills. Sri Lanka were triumphant in the tournament, then known as the SAARC gold, on home soil in 1995 and will be looking for another winning performance. The Maldives have a reputation of punching above their weight in the SAFF Championship and have been runners up twice. They reached the semi-finals in 2005 before losing 1-0 to eventual winners India in a tight affair. There has been a tournament to determine the top nations in south Asia since 1993 with India the undisputed kings with four titles. The event has been played under various names and India lifted the inaugural four-nation SAARC Cup at Lahore's Railway Stadium. There was a surprise two years later with hosts Sri Lanka beating India 1-0 in Colombo. India resumed their winning ways in the first two editions of the SAFF Championship. They reclaimed their title in emphatic fashion by thrashing the Maldives 5-1 in the 1997 final in Kathmandu before successfully defending their crown in Goa two years later when they beat Bangladesh 2-0 in the showdown. Bangladesh gained revenge when they hosted the next SAFF Championship in 2003. They beat India 2-1 at the semi-final stage before going on to win their first title with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over the Maldives after the final ended 1-1. India re-asserted their superiority in 2005 when the event was staged at Karachi's Peoples Sports Complex under PFF's President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat in fine manner, winning hearts of AFC, SAFF officials. India beat Bangladesh 2-0 in the final under Baichung Bhutia who is also Indian skipper in ongoing event. The title holders will come into the SAFF Championship 2008 eager to retain their status as the leading football nation in south Asia but they will face seven challengers hungry for success. It promises to be a thrilling competition with co-hosts the Maldives and Sri Lanka keen to take full advantage of playing on home turf. The final is scheduled for Colombo on June 14. WEDNESDAY (4 June) GROUP-B FIXTURE Bangladesh v Bhutan 4 PM Sri Lanka v Afghanistan 8.30 PM