List of Winners in SAFF Championship

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 16, 2022, 6:42

The SAFF Championship Winners List is the list of winners who won the championship. SAFF is the acronym for The South Asian Football Federation (and it was previously called South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation Gold Cup and South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup) is, happens to be the most important international football competition governed and overseen by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). This is a competition between men's national football teams.

The List of winners in SAFF Championship has players from the constituents of this federation Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the seven eligible to compete in the tournament.

The competition is held every alternate year. In 2005, Afghanistan also joined the SAFF. However, it left in 2015 and founded the Central Asian Football Association (CAFA).

The first South Asian Football Federation championship took place in Lahore in 1993. It descended from the South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Gold cup. From the time it began, this biennial championship has taken long strides, developed, and now become the most important tournament of the entire region. This has gone a long way in promoting the development of the game in the region. Unfortunately, the Bangladesh Football Federation was suspended from FIFA; thus, the 2001 SAFF Championship was initially postponed from October/November 2001 to January Jan/Feb 2002 and was held in 2003. As a result, Bangladesh played the host of the 2018 SAFF Championship.

India has won the championship the maximum number of times and thus remains the most successful country in the SAFF Championship. Since it began, India has won the Championship eight times. The Maldives is in second place, having won it two times. Sri Lanka Bangladesh have each won it one time. Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan are yet to win it even once.

The 2021 edition of the championship could not be held twice on time because of the COVID pandemic and was finally held in October 2021. As a result, the 2021 SAFF Championship was won by India.

Performance by nation

  • India won the championship 8 times in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2021
  • The Maldives won it 2 times in 2008 and 2018
  • Bangladesh won once in 2003
  • Afghanistan won once in 2013
  • Srilanka won it once in 1995
  • Nepal, Pakistan, and Bhutan have yet to win it once

It's to be noted that Afghanistan is not part of SAFF anymore.

FAQs on SAFF Championship Winners List

Q.1) Which are the countries that participated in the SAFF Championship 2021?

Countries that participated in the SAFF Championship 2021 were India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives.

Q.2) Why did Pakistan and Bhutan not participate in the SAFF Championship 2021?

The FIFA COUNCIL suspended Pakistan in April 2021 for what they claimed was third-party interference, which FIFA deemed was a severe violation of the FIFA statutes and rules. In addition, Bhutan decided to abstain from participating in the SAFF Championship because they did not want to send their team to the Maldives for the championship because of the prevailing COVID situation.

Q.3) Who constituted the List of winners in SAFF Championship of 2021?

India beat Nepal 3-0 and made it to the SAFF Championship Winners List of 2021. Interestingly, India did not start their championship well but got better and did end up finishing at the top of the table.

Q.4) Who were the top scorers at SAFF Championship 2021?

Sunil Chhetri, the skipper of the Indian team, became the top scorer of the tournament, having scored 5 goals. With that, Chhetri scored 80 goals in international tournaments, and in that, he is second only to Lionel Messi. Chhetri has scored 18 goals in SAFF Championships. He is behind Ali Ashfaq, who has 23 goals to his credit.