Organised by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF), the SAFF U-20 Championship is a biennial football tournament held for the male footballers under the age of 20.
The SAFF U-20 Championship is usually held just before the AFC U-19 Championship qualification matches, in order to help the footballers prepare for the marquee AFC tournament.
The inaugural edition of the SAFF U-20 Championship was held for men’s under-19 national teams in 2015.
Hosts Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Maldives were the six teams that participated in the first edition. Interestingly, Pakistan and Sri Lanka pulled out of the tournament.
Nepal beat India on penalties to clinch the inaugural edition of SAFF U-19 Championship in Lalitpur, Nepal.
The second edition was changed to the U-18 tournament taking into consideration that most teams sent their U-18 team in order to prepare their players for the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship qualification matches.
Nepal won the second edition of the tournament in Bhutan that was played in a round-robin format.
The Indian football team are the defending champions of the SAFF U-20 Championship, having defeated Bangladesh 5-2 in the 2022 final at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.
🤩 C.H.A.M.P.I.O.N.S. 🤩— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) August 5, 2022
India grab the victory and the title, after a fiery extra 30 minutes! 🔥
🇧🇩 2-5 🇮🇳
📺 https://t.co/4jTAFzfPHB#BANIND ⚔️ #SAFFU20 🏆 #BackTheBlue 💙 #IndianFootball ⚽ pic.twitter.com/6js9oHREpC
Star forward Gurkirat Singh netted four goals while Himanshu Jangra added one more to help India claim their second title. For Bangladesh, Rajon Howleder and Shahin Mia scored one goal each.
India earlier won the 2019 edition of the tournament by beating Bangladesh 2-1 in the final. Hosted by Nepal, the 2019 tournament also featured men's under-18 national teams.
India and Nepal are the most successful teams in SAFF U-20 Championship, having won the title twice each.
SAFF U-20 Championship winners list
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Featured photo: Indian football