Santosh trophy to begin in Kashmir tomorrow

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Srinagar, May 24 (UNI) Hosts Jammu and Kashmir and Pondicherri will clash in the inaugural match of the 62nd National Football tournament for Santosh trophy-2008 at Bakshi stadium here tomorrow.

31 teams from across the country would take part in the 22-day-long championship, being hosted by the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) under the auspices of All India Football Federation (AIFF), Prof Bashir chief spokesman of JKFA told UNI.

He said teams have already started arriving here.

''Delhi, Pondicherri, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat football teams have arrived here today while others are on their way, Prof Bashir said.

''Out of the 31 teams, last year semi-finalists Punjab, Kerala, Mahrashtra and Bengal have been given direct entry into the quater-final, stage'' he said adding, ''other teams have been divided into eight clusters.'' Cluster-1: Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Chandigarh, Sikkim.

Cluster-2: Services, Manipur, Orrisa, Nagaland.

Cluster-3: Delhi, Tripura, Gujrat.

Cluster-4: J&K, Pondicherri, Deman and Diu, Himachal pradesh.

Cluster-5: Karnataka, Utter Pradesh, Jharkhand.

Cluster-6: Haryana, Madya Pradesh, Assam Cluster-7: Chattisgarh, Railways, Mizoram Cluster-8: Maghalaya, Goa, Uttranchal Out of the 52 matches, 13 matches would be held at Jammu in two grounds -- Maulana Azad Stadium and GGM Science College----, while 39 matches including pre-quarter, quarter, semi-finals and final matches would be held at Bakshi Stadium and Polo ground in Srinagar.

He said all arrangements were finalised for the smooth conduct of the tournament, being held in the state after 30 years of long wait.

UNI FMH YSS RAR HT1745

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