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Talking Points From 2021 SAFF Championship As India Lift Cup

Indian football fans were over the moon as Sunil Chhetri’s Blue Tigers emerged victorious in the 2021 SAFF Championship by beating Nepal in the final, 3-0. The football played in the tournament was of a high standard and this marked India’s first trophy under Igor Stimac since he took over the coaching duties back in 2019.

Here are the highlights from the 2021 SAFF Championship.

INDIA LIFT THE SAFF CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE 8TH TIME

This was the thirteenth edition of the SAFF Championship and eight out of the thirteen were won by Team India. India started the championship on a slow note having drawn their first couple of games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but soon got to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Nepal. The performance against the hosts Maldives was the standout from the group phase as a 3-1 victory confirmed their spot as the leaders in the group phase and booked a final against Nepal.

The team were class apart in the final and cruised to an easy 3-0 victory over Nepal to lift yet another SAFF Championship trophy.

CAPTAIN LEADER LEGEND STEPS UP YET AGAIN

For some time now, people have been calling for India to move past Sunil Chhetri and invest in younger strikers but Chhetri keeps proving that he is by far the best striker the nation has ever had. Chhetri won the Golden Boot award in the 2021 SAFF Championship by netting 5 goals in the season and took his tally to 80 international goals. Chhetri now is the joint-fifth highest goalscorer in international football and keeps defying conventional wisdom with every game he plays for the national team.

FOOTBALL UNDER STIMAC IS DEVELOPING

The 2021 SAFF Championship marked the first trophy the Indian national team has won under coach Igor Stimac. He became the sixth coach to win the SAFF Championships title and the third foreigner after Jiri Pesek and Stephen Constantine. Fans seemed to have a divided opinion on the work the Croatian has done with the national team so far but after the first trophy, the coach would be breathing a lot easier. The main goal now is to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup, something that seems pretty realistic with the current qualification scenarios.