Santosh Trophy 2012 will not be an U23 affair unlike what was decided by AIFF in a meeting earlier. So all the senior players will be allowed to play in the state teams.
AIFF had decided to make Santosh trophy an U23 age group affair so that new players get chance and new talents get unearthed. But they faced severe protest from the state associations. This forced the AIFF to remove the restriction. However, the format will be changed.
Previously there used to be only 8 teams in the finals of Santosh Trophy. This time around there will be 16 teams playing in the finals. 8 teams who played in the quarter final of the previous edition will get a direct entry. Odisha as a host will get direct entry too. Rest of the 7 places will be filled by qualifications.
The 16 teams will be divided into 4 groups and will play in round-robin format. The top team from each group will move on to the semi-final.
The main event will kick off on 11th May and the final will be played on 27th of May 2012
Already there are tournaments for Under 16, Under 19 and under 21. Then again what is the need for under 23, this AIFF members dont have brain or what. In india we dont have quality players at all for national team. The retired palyers like IM Vijayan, Baichung and Jopaul Ancheri they are retired at the age of 35+. International level in south america and europe players are retiring at the age of 38 and above. If AIFF thinks to find a talented players for the national team, then Santosh Trophy one of the source to find good players. If the AIFF only considering the I-League for national team selection then Indian Soccer never improves. Because most of the young talents get’s jobs into public sectors, after into the job they are not at all ready to play I-League, for them Santhosh trophy is the right place to show their talent and it is a kind of Trial’s of the National Team. If there is no Santosh Trophy, then simply forget indian Football.