IM Vijayan catapulted into instant stardom with his exploits in the Santosh Trophy more than 30 years ago and the legendary former India football captain wishes the same for the players who will fight it out in the semi-finals in the 75th edition of the National Football Championship.
Hosts Kerala will play Karnataka in the first semi-final on Thursday while Bengal is pitted against Manipur in the second semi-final on Friday.
“All the players have a chance to prove themselves, especially the ones that have made it to the semi-final 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,” Vijayan told aiff.com.
East Bengal have sent their former stars Alvito D’Cunha and Sasthi Duley as talent spotters.
Santosh Trophy has been a big hit in Kerala with the hosts’ game against Bengal being watched by a capacity crowd.
“So many fans have come to enjoy the matches as the Santosh Trophy is being held in Malappuram for the first time. 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 late VP Sathiyan was the captain.”