Ozone releases just one player for Santosh Trophy

Ozone releases just one player for Santosh Trophy

With the Santosh Trophy set to kick-off from March 19 in Kolkata, the Karnataka squad will be bereft of a few players from Ozone FC.

It was confirmed on Thursday that, apart from skipper Vignesh G, none of the other four from Ozone will be part of the squad and will instead help the side in their I-League second division campaign.  

With a majority of the Ozone players not featuring prominently in the South Zone qualifiers of the tournament, Karnataka coach Muralidharan R was not too worried and said replacements would be drafted in.

"After repeated requests, Ozone FC will only release Vignesh (Gunashekar) for the finals. He is supposed to join the rest of the squad on Friday. Other players will not be a part of the state team as Ozone refused to release them.

"I don't think it will hamper our preparation as Bengaluru FC will release their reserve team players. However, they will train with BFC and will join the rest of the team in Kolkata after their match in Guwahati," he said.  

"We have arranged five practice games before the finals and we have to utilise the squad to have a chance," added Muralidharan.

Last week, Ozone coach David Booth had expressed his desire to have his players train with him before joining up with the squad and it was later learnt that due to the hectic nature of the schedule, Ozone were allowed to retain their players.  

"We made a request to the KSFA asking if we could keep our players while preparing for the I-League second division. After some deliberation, they agreed to us releasing just one player. I think this works well for both parties," said an Ozone FC official.  

KSFA treasurer AD Nagendra echoed the sentiments saying: "We thought Ozone deserved this relief since they are participating in major league."

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