Santosh Trophy: Goalkeeper to Lead Kerala
By Express News Service | Published: 21st January 2014 09:31 AM |
Goalkeeper Jean Christian PA will lead the Kerala team that will depart for Chennai on January 22 to take part in the 68th national football championship for the Santosh Trophy.
Christian, custodian for State Bank of Travancore, was superb for runners-up Kerala in the last edition of the tournament and produced some stunning saves during regulation time as well as in the penalty shootout in the final.
Striker R Kannan will be the deputy to Christian. Former FC Kochin and Viva Kerala FC head coach AM Sreedharan will in charge of the team with Satheevan Balan assisting him.
The 20-member squad, announced on Monday, was picked from a pool of 77 players, the highest ever to have attended a Santosh Trophy camp for Kerala. Thirty-seven were called up to the camp based on their performances in last year’s inter-district championship, 35 from the state club championship and a five from the all-India university tournament.
“We have a good squad with enough strength and depth and hopefully, we can do one better this year. The squad is a good mix of youngsters and experienced campaigners,” Sreedharan said.
There are 11 changes to the squad that reached the final last year, including eight newcomers. Last year’s captain Rahul P and Sumesh N are missing with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.
Captain Christian, who has previously represented Kerala on four occasions, said the team is in good shape. “The coaching camp has gone very well and the boys are looking strong and ready,” he said.
The team will leave for Chennai where they will take on Tamil Nadu on January 24. They will play Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Karnataka on February 1 and 3 respectively.
SQUAD: Goalkeepers: Jean Christian PA (captain), Noufal N, Nishad PP. Defenders: Sherin Sam, Surjith VV, Johnson N, Anagh BK, Shaji A, Lijo S, Sajith T. Midfielders: Shibin Lal VK, Jipson Justus, Anish KP, Jijo Joseph, Prasson R, Prameesh KV. Forwards: Usman P, Suhair VP, Nasarudheen C, R Kannan. Head coach: AM Sreedharan. Assistant coach: Satheevan Balan.