Sunil Chhetri-led India beat Kuwait in the SAFF championship finals to win the tournament for a record 9th time. The final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru went into a penalty shootout where the Blue Tigers emerged victorious (5-4).
With the win, India extended their unbeaten run and guaranteed a pot two spot in the AFC, which will be advantageous for India in their journey for World Cup 2026 qualifications.
Meanwhile, Sunil Chhetri won a couple of awards for being the most valuable player and as well as being the top scorer of the tournament with six games.
India has won the competition nine times, but what makes this one special and unforgettable is the support from the fans.
Notably, 26, 830 fans turned up to watch the final, which was a delight for any viewer who is habitual of seeing empty stands during India’s games.
The atmosphere was electric and quite similar to how we are used to seeing during cricket games. There were banners, Indian flags, Vande Mataram chants, Viking claps and everything the Indian football fans have dreamt of for years.
The most beautiful moment came after India won the title, as the fans appreciated the players’ efforts by echoing their names from the stand and also gave a big round of applause for Kuwait as they received their runners-up medals.
It is safe to say that Indian football has grown exponentially in terms of skills and viewership. From the time of Chhetri pleading with the fans to watch them in the stadiums to 27,000 fans singing Vande Mataram is a dream come true for every Indian.