Santosh Trophy losing relevance

updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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Though a record 32 teams have participated in this year's premier football tournament - the Santosh Trophy - the Cup is slowly losing its relevance. This year's Santosh Trophy has thrown up many questions, which if answered could see a future for Indian football. For the first time, states were allowed to call back their players representing various clubs, but the stars are yet to arrive. "Reputed players are interested in the national league as there's more limelight and monetary gains. In Santosh Trophy there is nothing," remarked Robin Ghosh, team coordinator, Bengal. For teams like Uttar Pradesh, it was too late to call their players. "Fifteen days is too less for training, we were not informed properly," complained V Dastidar, coach, UP. The reason most of the players leave the state is due to lack of patronage by the state governments. Uttar Pradesh has more than 50 players playing outside, for which reason their Santosh Trophy team is so sub-standard. "In UP there is no scope for employment, that is why they are going outside," explained S S Ali, team manager, UP. And for those star players who have come to represent their state, it's been a disappointment. "What will you play, our office team could have beaten half the teams. It hampers your performance," complained Debjit Ghosh, Captain, Bengal. For young teams and upcoming players, however, it's still an opportunity. "Santosh Trophy will give exposure to our young players. To me Santosh Trophy is still very important," said Ropfu Meyase, coach, Nagaland. Though for many states it's routine to send a team to represent the state, unless the tournament is taken seriously and players provided with minimum benefits, the trophy will soon lose all its relevance.