A brief history of the SAFF Suzuki Cup

20-May-2015


The bustling coastal city of Trivandrum will be the venue for the 2015 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Suzuki Cup as India play host to the sub-continent's prestigious tournament in December.

Since its inception in 1993, when it was called the South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation Gold Cup, the tournament has served to promote the beautiful game and facilitate its development across the region.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal are the countries who participate in the biennial tournament.

India have thrived in this competition and have largely dominated proceedings winning 6 out of its 10 editions, with 3 runners-up spots and 1 third-place finish. Maldives (2008), Bangladesh (2003) and Sri Lanka (1995) also have one title each to their names.

However, since joining the competition in 2005, Afghanistan have proved to be the biggest threat to India's supremacy having finished as runners-up to the Blue Tigers in 2011 before beating them in the most recent edition in 2013 to win their first title.

India's 2011 triumph was probably the most dominant display in the tournament's history. Savio Madeira's side scored 16 times in 5 games on that occasion as they dispatched their opponents with aplomb, even trouncing Afghanistan 4-0 in the final. The edition also saw Sunil Chhetri score in every game as he finished with seven goals to his name, a new tournament record.

Maldives have a reputation of performing well at the SAFF Championship despite only lifting the trophy once. They have never failed to land a semi-final berth in their eight attempts so far and have finished as runners-up thrice, which along with India is more than any other side has managed. Their 10-0 thrashing of Sri Lanka in the 2013 group stages was one of their finest moments with Ali Ashfaq netting a double hat-trick.

Come December, the SAFF Suzuki Cup will once again thrill football fans in the region with memorable moments as the teams showcase their most impressive players and battle it out for that all important trophy.



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