Santosh Trophy: Top 5 Teams with the most Title wins in history

    Santosh Trophy is one of the most reputed domestic tournaments in Indian football. This tournament is currently known as Hero Senior Men’s National Football Championship.

    This trophy was named after the President of the Indian Football Association (IFA) Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhury, famously the Maharaja of Santosh. During his tenure, the Santosh Trophy tournament started in 1941.

    Currently, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body of football in India, organizes this tournament every year. AIFF’s all affiliated State Associations are eligible to participate in this reputed tournament every year.

    Top 5 teams with the most Santosh Trophies

    TeamNumber of titlesTotal number of runners-ups
    West Bengal (including Bengal)3214

    West Bengal (46 times finalists; 32 times champions)

    West Bengal
    Image Credit: Twitter

    West Bengal football team, which was formerly known as Bengal, has a rich culture of the game. So, there is no surprise that West Bengal are leading the table of winning most Santosh trophies by 32 times, including one shared trophy with Goa in the 1982/83 season after having the 0-0 scoreline in the two-legged finals. The 46-times finalists West Bengal are leading this prestigious trophy-winning table by a huge margin.

    While Bengal won the first Santosh Trophy in its inaugural season in 1941/42 after beating Delhi by 5-1 in the final, their last trophy came in the 2016/17 season, when they beat the hosts Goa in the final by a 1-0 margin.

    In the latest season (2021/22), West Bengal finished as the runners-up after losing the final against the hosts Kerala in the penalty shootout [1(5)-1(4)].

    Punjab (16 times finalists; 8 times champions)

    Punjab are currently standing in the second position in the list of most Santosh Trophy winners after recording it eight times. While Punjab have experienced 16 such finals, they also ended eight tournaments as the runners-up.  

    Punjab won their first Santosh Trophy in the 1970/71 season (beat Mysore by 1-1 and 3-1 in the two-legged finals) and their last such trophy in the 2007/08 season (beat Services by 1-0 in the final).

    Last time, Punjab reached the final of this tournament in the 2018/19 season when Services beat them in the final by a 1-0 margin.

    Kerala (15 times finalists; 7 times champions)

    Kerala, Santosh Trophy
    Image Credit: Twitter

    Kerala are the latest Santosh Trophy champions as they are the third-best side in this tournament history. While they beat West Bengal in the latest 2021/22 final in the penalty shoot-out [1(5)-1(4)], it was their seventh title in this tournament history.

    However, Kerala have already experienced 15 finals in this tournament history with eight runners-ups. They played their first final of this tournament in the 1973/74 season when they claimed their first title after beating Railways by a 3-2 margin.  

    Services (11 times finalists; 6 times champions)

    The fourth-best team in the Santosh Trophy history is Services. While they have experienced a total of 11 finals in this tournament’s history, they claimed six such trophies.

    Services played their first final in the 1954/55 season (lost vs Bombay by 2-1), but they recorded their first trophy in their third final in the 1960/61 season (beat Bengal by 0-0 and 1-0).   

    Services’ last trophy came in the 2018/19 edition after beating Punjab by 1-0 which was also their last final.

    Goa (13 times finalists; 5 times champions)

    Presently, Goa are in the fifth spot in the list of most Santosh Trophy winners with five such titles, including winning one-shared trophy with Bengal. They have reached the final of this tournament history 13 times but lost eight of those final matches.

    Though Goa played their first final in this tournament history in the 1978/79 season (1-0 vs Bengal), their first title came in their second final during the 1982/83 season when they shared the trophy with Bengal after managing the 0-0 scoreline in both leg matches in that final. In the next season (1983/84), Goa enjoyed their first complete trophy after beating Punjab by 1-0.    

    Goa won their last trophy in this tournament in the 2008/09 season [vs West Bengal 0(4)-0(2)] but played their last final in the 2016/17 edition (vs West Bengal 1-0).

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