SAFF CUP 2021: Who should be SAFF Cup 2021's Player of the Tournament?
The SAFF Cup will come to an end on the 16th of October when table toppers India will lock horns with second-placed Nepal. Who will turn out to be the Player of the Tournament this time around? Let's have a look!
The SAFF Championship started on the 1st of October and saw five teams participating in it, namely, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. This edition of the tournament has been full of ups and downs where we have witnessed heartbreaks, go-throughs and many such other things. A few unexpected incidents too, happened on the pitch such as Sri Lanka limiting India to a draw or India winning from a late stealer against Nepal in a must win game, coaching staff getting sent off, Bangladesh, who had a managerial appointment ahead of the tournament almost made their way to the finals, India, who hardly dreamt of qualifying are now preparing for the finals, Ali Ashfaq rescued Maldives again this time and so on.
In this article, we'll be assessing who could win the SAFF Cup 2021 Player of the Tournament award. There are a few players from all the teams who can actually win it.
The first name will be of Sunil Chhetri. The Indian skipper has already bagged 4 goals in this tournament and is currently the top goal-scorer and has surpassed the Brazilian legend Pele in terms of international goals for the country. Chhetri has been a true leader to the side whose vocal monitoring on the pitch has truly influenced the Blue Tigers. India will be missing their head coach Igor Stimac in the grand finale because of suspension and a lot of responsibility will perhaps be upon the 36-year-old to guide the team and make things happen accordingly on the pitch.
The second name will be that of Ali Ashfaq (Maldives) who has scored 3 goals in this edition of the SAFF Championship, keeping in mind that his team has scored a total of 4 goals. However, it is to be mentioned that 2 of his 3 goals came from penalties. The 36-year-old also has the most number of goals in this tournament (23). He has been the leader to the Maldives national side and also earned fame and respect in Southern Asia through his performance as he is Maldives' all-time top goal-scorer. In 2008, he won the Most Valuable Player award in this tournament and in 2013 he went on to score 10 goals.. An estimation can be done that if Sunil Chhetri bags the Golden Boot, Ali Ashfaq would be considered as a candidate for the Player of the Tournament award.
The last name on the list will be of Anjan Bista, the 23-year-old Nepalese centre-forward. The young Nepalese has scored twice in the tournament and has played some commendable football. However, his chance of increasing his tally will not happen since he will not be featuring in the final against India.
Apart from these three names, Jamal Bhuiyan, the skipper of Bangladesh, Manish Dangi, the right-winger of the Nepal national team and Sujan Perera, the goalkeeper of the Sri Lanka national team who displayed a brilliant brand of football when his team destroyed India's ambition of winning the game.
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