Saudi stadium that hosted Lionel Messi
vs Cristiano Ronaldo to stage Santosh Trophy final stage
AIFF pulled out of Asian Cup bid over costs, but taking domestic tournament overseas is
being justified as ‘exposure’ for players.
Step or misstep, the All India Football Federation has made its first major move after the announcement of the ‘Vision 2047’ roadmap. A new set of officials has taken over and taken a domestic interstate tournament to international shores in a bid to rebuild its royalty status. The King Fahd International Stadium, home to a clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi just over a month ago, will see two semi-finals, and a third-place match, By hosting the semi-finals and final of the tournament in Riyadh, the AIFF believes it can raise the value of their competition, allow state associations to work harder to scout for a better crop of players and show that there is a quality footballer or two out there for the top clubs in India to pick up. and the title clash between four Indian state teams as the final leg of the Santosh Trophy is held in Riyadh.
It was always important to win a championship like the Santosh Trophy. Just the news that matches would be held in Riyadh gave us a boost during our qualification matches and increased our concentration levels,” said Services head coach MG Ramachandran on the effect he saw on his players as soon as it was announced that the tournament finale would be held in Saudi Arabia.