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Kochi to host final phase of Santosh Trophy

Principal Correspondent

KOCHI: The 60th Santosh Trophy National football championship will begin in Kerala on November 4.

The venues of the league phase have not been finalised but Kochi will host the final phase of the 20-day tournament at the Nehru Stadium, the Kerala Football Association president K.M.I. Mather said at a media meet here on Monday evening.

Defending champion Kerala, Punjab, Services and Manipur, the top four finishers of the last edition in Delhi, have been given a direct berth into the final phase. As many as 31 teams, including heavyweights Bengal, Goa and Maharashtra, will figure in the league phase.

Ernakulam District Football Association will be hosting the championship on behalf of the KFA. "All the final phase matches will be played under floodlights," said the EDFA president and the championship's general convenor, MLA K. Babu.

The Santosh Trophy returns to Kerala after a gap of five years, it was last held in Thrissur in 2000. It will also be the 12th time Kerala will be hosting the event. Kochi last hosted the event in 1993.

International meets

Kerala is also likely to host a couple of international tournaments in the next two years. "The All India Football Federation President Priyaranjan Dasmunshi had recently written to me regarding this. We may have one tournament next year," said the State Sports Minister, Dominic Presentation, during the conference.

The Sports Minister also promised to increase the cash award for the Kerala players if they retain the Santosh Trophy.

Match ends in draw

The three-day under-19 inter-zone cricket match between Central and North Zone ended in a draw in Thiruvananthapuram. Central Zone by virtue of its first innings lead took two points from this match.

The scores: Central Zone 404 & 528 for six in 83 overs (Praveen Achuthan 145, Robert Fernandez 144, Sajith Muralidharan 105 not out, Vinod Kumar 65 not out) drew with North Zone 274.

Sreekanth spins a web

on PDCA

Leg-spinner Sreekanth's seven-wicket haul helped Century CC (Ernakulam) post a five-wicket win against Pathanamthitta DCA XI in a first phase first round match of the 55th Pooja all-India cricket tournament at the Tripunithura Palace Oval in Kochi on Monday.

The scores: PDCA XI (Pathanamthitta) 115 in 30.5 overs (Sreekanth seven for 26) lost to Century CC (Ernakulam) 118 for five in 21.5 overs (Sakthy 41).

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