Santosh Trophy 2019-20: A dozen new faces in Kerala's team

Kerala last won the Santosh Trophy in April 2018 but failed to qualify for the main phase in the next edition.

Despite having a dozen players who will be making their Santosh Trophy debut, head coach Bino George feels that the Kerala team for the coming National football championship's South Zone qualifiers will not be short of experience.

“Though it looks like a new team, many of our players have played a lot of quality matches for clubs like Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, Kerala Blasters and Gokulam FC reserve teams. They may be young but are experienced,” said George as the team for the qualifiers, which begins in Kozhikode on November 5, was announced here on Wednesday.

Kannur-born SBI goalkeeper V. Midhun, who has featured in four Santosh Trophy championships, will be the captain of the team which also includes seven under-21 players. Ramco Cements will be the team's main sponsor.

Kerala Football Association's K.M.I. Mather (honarary president), Tom Jose (president) and Ramco Cements' SDGM-Marketing Gopakumar spoke during the event.

Kerala is in three-team Group 'A' which includes Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the winner will progress to the Santosh Trophy's main phase that begins in Aizawl, Mizoram, on January 10.

 Kerala last won the Santosh Trophy in April 2018 but failed to qualify for the main phase in the next edition after failing to post a win in the South Zone qualifiers early this year.

The team:

Goalkeepers: V. Midhun (SBI), Sachin Suresh (FC Kerala).

Defenders: Ajin Tom (Chennaiyin FC), Alex Saji (Gokulam FC), Vibin Thomas (Kerala Police), G. Sanju (Gokulam FC), V.G. Sreerag (Kerala Police), Jishnu Balakrishnan (Kerala Blasters).

Midfielders: Roshan V. Gigy (FC Kerala), Hrishi Dutt (Kerala Blasters), Leon Augustine (Bengaluru FC), Thahir Zaman (Gokulam FC), Jijo Joseph (SBI), P.P. Rishad (SAT, Tirur), P. Akhil (Ozone FC, Bengaluru), M.S. Jithin (Kerala Blasters).

Forwards: P.V. Vishnu (Gokulam FC), Emil Benny (Gokulam), Shihadh Nelliparaban (Gokulam FC), Mousoof Nizan (FC Kerala).

Officials: Bino George (Tsr, head coach). T.G. Purushothaman (Tsr, assistant coach), Saji Joy (Ekm, goalkeeping coach). Reginold Varghese (Pta, manager).

  Dugout videos