Many players have managed to set the AFF Suzuki Cup alight over its 20-year history. We take a look at some of the tournament’s top scorers.
Worrawoot Srimaka (2000)
Back when it was still known as the Tiger Cup, Thailand’s Worrawoot Srimaka fired five goals during the 2000 edition as he helped his country capture the trophy.
Incredibly, three of those goals came during a 4-1 victory over Indonesia in the final.
It remains one of the most impressive performances by any player in the history of the AFF Championship.
Bambang Pamungkas (2002)
Two years later, it was Indonesia’s Bambang Pamungkas who finished with a whopping eight goals to top the goalscorer’s list, although the Red and Whites finished runners-up after losing to Thailand in the final.
Bambang notably scored the only goal in Indonesia’s 1-0 victory over Malaysia in the semis.
In the group stages, he scored a hat-trick against Cambodia and bagged four goals in an incredible 13-1 mauling of the Philippines.
Ilham Jaya Kesuma (2004)
Indonesia finished runner-up after going down 5-2 to Singapore on aggregate during the two-leg final, but striker Ilham Jaya Kesuma finished as the tournament’s top contributer with seven goals.
Ilham scored in the second leg of the semi-final against Malaysia to help his country overturn a first-leg deficit and advance.
He also picked up a hat-trick against Cambodia in the group stages.
Noh Alam Shah (2007)
The tournament returned three years later – now known only as the AFF Championship – and Noh Alam Shah hit double figures with a 10-goal haul as he helped Singapore to a third title.
Alam Shah scored his side’s only goal in the first leg of the semi-final against Malaysia, but he will no doubt never forget his performance against Laos earlier in the tournament, when he bagged no less than seven international goals in Singapore’s 11-0 victory over Laos – including five in the last 30 minutes of the match.
While he has been known to have a fiery temper on the football field, during this event Alam Shah was all business.
Teerasil Dangda (2008)
Boasting a brand-spanking new sponsor – Suzuki – the 2008 edition saw Vietnam walk away with their first title, although the tournament’s top scorers came from other countries.
Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda, Agu Casmir of Singapore and Indonesia’s Budi Sudarsono notched four goals during the course of the championship.
Teerasil scored in the second leg of the final against Vietnam, although it was not enough to prevent Thailand from suffering a 3-2 aggregate defeat.
Safee Sali (2010)
After years of near misses and heartache, Malaysia finally became Suzuki Cup champions for the first time, and no player played a bigger part in that victory than Safee Sali.
Safee didn’t just contribute five goals, he scored all of them when it truly mattered. He bagged both goals in Malaysia’s 2-0 win over Vietnam in the first leg of the semi-final, and then added another three in their 4-2 aggregate triumph over Indonesia in the final.
Safee is the only Malaysian footballer to score in four consecutive AFF Championships and is currently his nation’s all-time leading goalscorer in the tournament with nine goals.
He has received another call-up ahead of the 2016 tournament.
Teerasil Dangda (2012)
Not content with his performance four years earlier, Teerasil bagged five more goals to finish as sole top scorer in 2012 – although sadly it again did not form part of a winning campaign for Thailand.
Teerasil scored in the semi-final victory over Malaysia, but could not prevent Singapore from claiming a 4-1 aggregate win in the final.
The star striker will have another opportunity to help his country to ultimate glory in 2016.
Safiq Rahim (2014)
Malaysia came very close to a second title two years ago, and that was due in large part to the efforts of Safiq Rahim, who scored no less than six goals from the midfield as he helped his team make it all the way to the final.
Safiq scored in a 5-4 aggregate victory over Vietnam in the semi-finals, and picked up a brace in the second leg of the final against Thailand – although it was not enough to prevent defeat.
On July 12, 2016, Safiq announced his retirement from international football, so we won’t see his prowess on display in Myanmar and the Philippines this time around.