SAFF Championship 2021: All you need to know

Here's everything you need to know abut the SAFF Championship 2021 - from the Indian football team's schedule, to its squad and telecast details.

Indian football team

The Indian football team has won the SAFF Championship seven times.   -  AIFF

The 2021 edition of the SAFF Championship was postponed twice because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and has finally kicked off in October in Maldives. All matches of the tournament will be played in Male’s National Stadium.

The Indian football team, which has won the tournament seven times, begins its campaign against Bangladesh on October 4.

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The SAFF Championship is the premier football championship among South-Asian Nations with all seven teams eligible to play in the tournament.

Which countries are playing the SAFF Championship 2021?

This year’s SAFF Championship, however, is without Bhutan and Pakistan with the latter suspended by FIFA for violation of FIFA Statutes. Bhutan abstained from participation with reluctance to allow players to travel outside its national borders.

As a result, the method of qualification has been changed to a round-robin format with the top two teams advancing to the finals.

The five participating nations are - India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

India's record in the SAFF Championship

India has been the most successful country in the Championship winning the tournament seven times. It has won thrice in the last five editions. In the last edition of the SAFF Championship, India lost 2-1 to Maldives, which is the host this time.

The Blue Tigers are undefeated in the last three matches, with wins against its SAFF opponents Bangladesh and Nepal.

Igor Stimac's side has significant absentees in Sandesh Jhingan, Ashique Kuruniyan and Rowllin Borges. The Croat, however, is optimistic of his team’s chances.

“I am confident and excited about the tournament and would like to enjoy the tournament without any nervousness… We will adapt to everything that is thrown at us,” he said.

India’s full squad for the SAFF Championship 2021

Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Vishal Kaith, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Mandar Rao Dessai, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Seriton Fernandes. 

Midfielders: Udanta Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Lalengmawia, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Jeakson Singh, Glan Martins, Suresh Singh, Liston Colaco, Yasir Mohammad.

Forwards: Manvir Singh, Rahim Ali, Sunil Chhetri, Farukh Choudhary

India’s schedule at the SAFF Championship 2021

October 4 - India vs Bangladesh
October 7 - India vs Sri Lanka
October 10 - India vs Nepal
October 13 - India vs Maldives

Where to watch the SAFF Championship 2021?

India’s opening fixture in the Championship is against Bangladesh and will kick-off at 4:30 pm IST on October 4.

The SAFF Championship will be telecast in India on Eurosport and Eurosport HD. It can also be watched live online on Discovery + App. 

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