Srinagar, May 26: The 62nd edition of the Santosh Trophy, the only inter-state football championship, has commenced at the Baisakhi Stadium here, after a gap of nearly 30 years. A total of 31 states and union territories will compete for top honours in event.
"The only aim behind organising this tournament is that football was a very popular game here once upon a time, but received a setback. In order to revive the game and to restore its past glory, we have conducted the tournament. We will try to organise such national level tournaments in future," said Zameer Thakur, the President, Jammu and Kashmir Football Association. About 620 players, including referees, technical delegates, coaches and physiotherapists are part of the Santosh Trophy contingent this year.
"Our happiness cannot be described in words. We are delighted that the All India Football Association has come here and organised the tournament. The enthusiasm of the football fans will reach its peak and small children will get to learn a lot from this tournament," said Muzammil Mohammed, representing Jammu and Kashmir.
The championship will be played for 22 days at different venues in Srinagar and Jammu.
Earlier, Srinagar had hosted the 35th edition of the Santosh Trophy in 1978 when Goa won the tournament, defeating West Bengal 2-0.
During the past three decades, the state witnessed many highs and lows. The holding of Santosh Trophy now was a matter of satisfaction for the people of the state in general and sports lovers in particular.