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Santosh Trophy

West Bengal, Kerala drawn together as AIFF announce Santosh Trophy groups

Published at :January 7, 2022 at 3:26 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : AIFF Media)

Rajdeep Saha

The prestigious tournament will begin on February 20.

Santosh Trophy 2022 is all set to begin in the southern Indian state of Kerala from February 20. 10 teams (Kerala, Services, Meghalaya, Odisha, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya) will battle it out in the 75th edition of the trophy to emerge as champions.

The draw was held on Thursday at 3 pm in the AIFF studios. Former India captain, Gouramangi Singh, was present to help with the proceedings. 37 teams participated in the zonal-selection round, which took place across five different zones in the country. Out of them, the aforementioned 10 teams have made it to the final round. These sides will have to go through the quarter-finals and semi-finals to reach the much-awaited final of the Santosh Trophy 2022.

The contending teams have been drawn in two groups of five teams each. The top two sides from each will progress to the semi-finals. The two groups read as follows:

Group A:

Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal.

Group B:

Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Services, Manipur.

Hosts Kerala find themselves in a difficult group, with the likes of 32-time Santosh Trophy winner West Bengal and a promising Rajasthan side. Defending champions Services will come head-to-head with teams like Manipur and Gujarat.

“Kerala, being the hosts, will be a difficult opponent to beat with all the home support. Let’s expect some good surprises. Rajasthan might surprise us against the three heavyweights in the group,” Singh remarked when asked about his thoughts on the Santosh Trophy draw.

West Bengal and Punjab, the most successful sides of the competition, will commence the tournament. The host team will begin their charge for the title against Rajasthan, who had grazed past Maharashtra in the West-Zonal qualifiers. Defending champions Services will begin their campaign against a strong Manipur side whereas formidable Karnataka will start off with Odisha.

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