There has been much fanfare around the Hero 75th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy this season, with fans flocking to the stands in Malappuram, Kerala. The return of the prestigious competition has wowed one and all, including Blue Tigers, legend IM Vijayan.
The Hero Santosh Trophy is all set to enter the semifinals stage, as the likes of Manipur, Karnataka, West Bengal and hosts Kerala enter the business end of the competition. IM Vijayan, who is celebrated across the country as one of its greatest footballers, was amazed by the fanfare around the tournament.
“There have been so many fans that have come to enjoy the matches as Santosh Trophy is being held in Malappuram for the first time. Kerala is known for its football fans, and the local people have shown that by arriving in huge numbers,” said Vijayan. “Kerala fans are different, they are special. I have seen them support me even when I played for Mohun Bagan against Kerala Police. I have also played for Bengal and missed a penalty in a tie-breaker against Kerala back when Sathiyan (VP) sir was the captain. Kerala lost that match, but fans here still recall that game.”
Vijayan, who has himself played in the Hero Santosh Trophy for both West Bengal and Kerala, feels that it is a perfect platform for the players to showcase their talent and get picked up by clubs.
“All the players have a chance to prove themselves, especially the ones that have made it to the semifinal so far. This is one of the most prestigious tournaments in India, and they will be trying to prove themselves and catch the eyes of the top clubs,” he stated.