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Karnataka end 54-year wait, wins Santosh Trophy

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Santosh Trophy 2023

Karnataka ended their 54-year wait to win the Santosh Trophy national football championship, beating Meghalaya 3-2 in a pulsating final at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi Arabia capital. Services beat Punjab 2-0 in the playoff to finish third. PP Shafeel and Christopher Kamei scored in either half. Services, winners of five of the last 10 editions, took the lead in the seventh minute through a strike from distance by Shafeel before Kamei converted a left-footed attempt from outside the box.

Karnataka (Sunil Kumar 2′, Bekley Oram 19′, Robin Yadav 42′) 3 – 2 Meghalaya (Brolington Warlarpih 19′, Sheen Stevenson Sphktung 60′)

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About the Santosh Trophy

  • The National Football Championship for Hero Santosh Trophy, due to sponsorship ties with Hero MotoCorp also known as the Hero National Football Championship, or simply Santosh Trophy, is a state-level national football competition contested by the state associations and government institutions under the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the sport’s governing body in India.
  • Before the starting of the first national club league, the National Football League in 1996, the Santosh Trophy was considered the top domestic honour in India. Many players who have represented India internationally, played and gained honour while playing in the Santosh Trophy. The tournament is held every year with eligible teams who are divided into zones, must play in the qualifying round and can progress into the tournament proper.
  • The tournament was started in 1941 by Indian Football Association (IFA), which was the then de facto governing body of football in India. It was named after the former president of the IFA, Sir Manmatha Nath Roy Chowdhury, the Maharaja of Santosh who had died at the age of 61 in 1939. The IFA later donated the Santosh Trophy to the AIFF, soon after its formation as the sport’s official governing body in India, and since then AIFF has been organising the tournament.
  • The trophy for the runner-up, Kamala Gupta Trophy, was also donated by the then president of IFA, Dr. S.K. Gupta, and it was named in honour of his wife.
  • The third-place trophy, Sampangi Cup, was donated by the Karnataka State Football Association (then Mysore Football Association) and was named so in the memory of a renowned footballer, Sampangi, who was from Mysore.
  • Until 2018, the tournament was organised as an individual competition, but since 2021, the AIFF rebranded it as the men’s senior tier of National Football Championship for the regional teams of various age groups. In September 2022, it was announced that the tournament will be organized on zonal basis.

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