'Santosh Trophy an opportunity for many players'

'Santosh Trophy an opportunity for many players'

The South Zone qualifiers for the 72nd edition of the Santosh Trophy is all set to kick-off here from Wednesday and Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri opined that while the tournament may not attract top tier players, it is still vital for fringe players to showcase their talent in the event.

Chhetri, who has skippered Delhi in previous editions, said that when he used to turn out, it was a huge tournament and added weight as the national selectors would be invariably present.

"When I was younger, it was huge. Before the I-League became the I-League, before there were more top tier matches for the players, Santosh Trophy was huge. I was told that national selectors used to come to the Santosh Trophy to select players. In that context, they have lost the sheen because the top players do not play. Not because they don't want to play, but because there are so many games.

"For all the players not in the top tier, this tournament is a great opportunity to be seen. Because they don't get enough matches. That's why the federation should give publicity to this tournament. It should be seen by a lot of people so that everyone is there -- the coaches, the scouts, the clubs," voiced Chhetri on the sidelines of an event to announce the Boost-BFC inter-school soccer shield at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Tuesday.

The third edition of the tournament is set to feature 60 teams in three age categories (U-10, U-12, U-14) and will be held at the Bangalore Football Stadium from January 23.

BFC will also be handing coaches an opportunity to engage in an AIFF C and D license course from February 10-14.

The D license will be fully sponsored, while for the C license, there will be a fee of Rs 10,000.

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