SAFF Championship
Organising bodySAFF
Founded1993; 29 years ago (1993), as SAARC Gold Cup
RegionSouth Asia
Number of teams
Current champions India (8th title)
Most successful team(s) India (8 titles)
Websitesaffederation.org
2023 SAFF Championship
Tournaments

The South Asian Football Federation Championship, commonly known as SAFF Championship (previously known as South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation Gold Cup and South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup), is the main international association football competition of the men's national football teams governed by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). All seven teams are eligible to compete in tournament.

History

The countries that currently compete in the tournaments are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is held every two years.[1] Afghanistan joined SAFF in 2005 and left the association in 2015 to become a founding member of Central Asian Football Association (CAFA).

The South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship kicked off in Lahore in 1993, evolving out of its forerunner, the South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Gold Cup. Since its inception, the biennial competition has developed into South Asia's premier football tournament, promoting the regional development of the game. The SAFF Championship 2001 was first postponed from Oct/Nov 2001 to Jan/Feb 2002 due to the suspension of the Bangladesh Football Federation from FIFA; the tournament finally took place in 2003. The 2018 edition was hosted by Bangladesh.[2]

The 2021 edition of the tournament was postponed twice to October 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3]

Results

Year Host Final Third place match/Losing semi-finalists
Champion Score Runner-up 3rd Place Score 4th Place
1993
Details
Pakistan
Pakistan

India
RR
Sri Lanka

Nepal
RR
Pakistan
1995
Details
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
1–0 (a.s.d.e.t.)
India
 Bangladesh and    Nepal
1997
Details
Nepal
Nepal

India
5–1
Maldives

Pakistan
1–0
Sri Lanka
1999
Details
India
India

India
2–0
Bangladesh

Maldives
2–0
Nepal
2003
Details
Bangladesh
Bangladesh

Bangladesh
1–1 (a.e.t.)
(5–3 p)

Maldives

India
2–1 (a.s.d.e.t.)
Pakistan
2005
Details
Pakistan
Pakistan

India
2–0
Bangladesh
 Maldives and  Pakistan
2008
Details
Maldives Sri Lanka
Maldives & Sri Lanka

Maldives
1–0
India
 Bhutan and  Sri Lanka
2009
Details
Bangladesh
Bangladesh

India
[a]
0–0 (a.e.t.)
(3–1 p)

Maldives
 Bangladesh and  Sri Lanka
2011
Details
India
India

India
4–0
Afghanistan
 Maldives and    Nepal
2013
Details
Nepal
Nepal

Afghanistan
2–0
India
 Maldives and  Bangladesh
2015
Details
India
India

India
2–1 (a.e.t.)
Afghanistan
 Maldives and  Sri Lanka
2018
Details
Bangladesh
Bangladesh

Maldives
2–1
India
   Nepal and  Pakistan
2021
Details
Maldives
Maldives

India
3–0
Nepal

Maldives [b]

Statistics

Performance by nation

Nation Champions Runners-up Third-place Fourth-place Semi-finalists
 India 8 (1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009[c], 2011, 2015, 2021) 4 (1995, 2008, 2013, 2018) 1 (2003)
 Maldives 2 (2008, 2018) 3 (1997, 2003, 2009) 1 (1999) 4 (2005, 2011, 2013, 2015)
 Bangladesh 1 (2003) 2 (1999, 2005) 1 (1995) 2 (1995, 2009)
 Afghanistan* 1 (2013) 2 (2011, 2015)
 Sri Lanka 1 (1995) 1 (1993) 1 (1997) 3 (2008, 2009, 2015)
   Nepal 1 (2021) 1 (1993) 2 (1995, 1999) 3 (2011, 2013, 2018)
 Pakistan 1 (1997) 2 (1993, 2003) 2 (2005, 2018)
 Bhutan 1 (2008)
Bold = Hosts
* = Not part of SAFF anymore

Participating nations

Legend
Team Pakistan
1993
Sri Lanka
1995
Nepal
1997
India
1999
Bangladesh
2003
Pakistan
2005
Maldives
Sri Lanka
2008
Bangladesh
2009
India
2011
Nepal
2013
India
2015
Bangladesh
2018
Maldives
2021
Nepal
2023
Total
 Bangladesh × SF GS 2nd 1st 2nd GS SF GS GS GS GS GS Q 12
 Bhutan Not part of SAFF GS GS SF GS GS GS GS GS × Q 8
 India 1st 2nd 1st 1st 3rd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st Q 13
 Maldives × × 2nd 3rd 2nd SF 1st 2nd SF SF SF 1st GS Q 11
   Nepal 3rd SF GS 4th GS GS GS GS SF SF GS SF 2nd Q 13
 Pakistan 4th GS 3rd GS 4th SF GS GS GS GS × SF dq Q 11
 Sri Lanka 2nd 1st 4th GS GS GS SF SF GS GS SF GS GS Q 13
Former Team
 Afghanistan2 Not part of SAFF GS GS GS GS 2nd 1st 2nd Not part of SAFF 7

1The third-place match was not played in 1995 and has not been played 2003 onwards.
2Left SAFF and joined CAFA in 2015.

All-time table

As of 2021.

Rank Team Part Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1  India 13 57 37 12 8 100 36 +64 123
2  Maldives 11 47 24 11 12 95 48 +47 83
3  Bangladesh 12 42 16 12 14 46 42 +4 60
4    Nepal 13 43 13 7 23 49 63 −14 46
5  Sri Lanka 13 41 13 7 21 48 65 −17 46
6  Pakistan 11 36 12 8 16 32 42 −10 44
7  Afghanistan 7 27 12 4 11 48 42 +6 40
8  Bhutan 8 24 1 1 22 13 93 −80 4

Top goalscorers by edition

Years Player(s) Goals
1993 India I. M. Vijayan 3
1995 Sri Lanka Mohamed Amanulla 3
1997 India I. M. Vijayan 6
1999 Nepal Naresh Joshi 3
India Bhaichung Bhutia
Bangladesh Mizanur Rahman Dawn
Maldives Mohamed Wildhan
2003 Pakistan Sarfraz Rasool 4
2005 Maldives Ibrahim Fazeel 3
Maldives Ali Ashfaq
Maldives Ahmed Thariq
2008 Afghanistan Harez Habib 4
2009 Bangladesh Enamul Haque 4
Maldives Ahmed Thariq
Sri Lanka Channa Ediri Bandanage
2011 India Sunil Chhetri 7
2013 Maldives Ali Ashfaq 10
2015 Afghanistan Khaibar Amani 4
2018 India Manvir Singh 3
2021 India Sunil Chhetri 5

Overall top goalscorers

Players with 10 or more goals at SAFF Championships
Rank Nation Player Goals scored
1 Maldives Ali Ashfaq 23
2 India Sunil Chhetri 18
3 India Bhaichung Bhutia 12
4 Maldives Ibrahim Fazeel 10
Maldives Ahmed Thariq

Winning coaches

Year Team Coach
1993  India Czech Republic Jiri Pesek
1995  Sri Lanka Brazil Jorge Perreira
1997  India India Sukhwinder Singh
1999  India India Sukhwinder Singh
2003  Bangladesh Austria George Kottan
2005  India India Syed Nayeemuddin
2008  Maldives Slovakia Jozef Jankech
2009  India India Sukhwinder Singh
2011  India India Savio Medeira
2013  Afghanistan Afghanistan Mohammad Yousef Kargar
2015  India England Stephen Constantine
2018  Maldives Croatia Petar Segrt
2021  India Croatia Igor Štimac

See also

Notes

  1. ^ India was represented by India U-23 team
  2. ^ The format of the tournament was changed to round-robin due to the suspension of Pakistan and the withdrawal of Bhutan. Maldives finished third in points and hence listed as third place.[4]
  3. ^ India was represented by India U-23 team

References

  1. ^ "From SAARC Gold Cup to SAFF Championship". Givemegoal.com.np. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  2. ^ Infos at goalnepal.com
  3. ^ "We Will Try Our Best To Host SAFF 2021 Matches In Pokhara". Goal Nepal. 27 July 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  4. ^ Mukherjee, Soham (9 September 2021). "SAFF Championship 2021: Everything you need to know". Goal. Archived from the original on 13 September 2021. Retrieved 18 September 2021.