SAFF Championship Kicks-off in October

– Archan Mitter | 9 Sept 2021

Maldives will host the 13th edition of the SAFF Championship from October 1 to 16, 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament was pushed back from 2020 to September 2021. But since Bangladesh backed out from hosting the prestigious South Asian football tournament, it was again rescheduled to October as Maldives stepped forward to host the tournament.

India is the SAFF Championship’s all-time champion, having won it seven times. The Blue Tigers will be joined in this edition by Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the host Maldives. Bhutan, on the other hand, has opted out due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while FIFA’s suspension imposed on Pakistan FA since April 7, 2021 due to third-party interference, has kept them out of the tournament.

On October 4, India will kick off their SAFF Championship campaign against neighbouring Bangladesh. The competition’s final, which will be played on October 16, 2021, will feature the top two teams after the initial round-robin format. 


Date Day Kick-off Match
04-Oct Monday 4:30pm Bangladesh vs India
07-Oct Thursday 4:30pm India vs Sri Lanka
10-Oct Sunday 9:30pm Nepal vs India
13-Oct Wednesday 9:30pm India vs Maldives
16-Oct Saturday 8:30pm Final (Group Winners vs Group Runners-up)

The previous edition of the biennial international men’s tournament was held in 2018 in Bangladesh, where the Maldives emerged champions defeating India 2-1 in the final at the Bangabandhu Stadium.

The Blue Tigers were the overwhelming favourites, but an early goal by Ibrahim Mahudhee in the 19th minute tipped the scales in the island nation’s favour. After an hour, the Red Snappers doubled their lead to cement their dominance over the game. Sumeet Passi of India scored a consolation in the added time, to make the final score 2-1.

India has won the SAFF Championship seven times and is the most successful nation in the competition. With two championships, the Maldives is the second most successful team. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, on the other hand, have both won. Nepal, Pakistan, and Bhutan are the only countries that are yet to win the SAFF Championship.

India 7 4 1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015)
Maldives 2 3 2008, 2018
Bangladesh 1 2 2003
Afghanistan 1 2 2013
Sri Lanka 1 1 1995

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