Revamped Santosh Trophy Final Round Set to Kick Off with Expanded Knockout Stage in February

The final round of the Santosh Trophy will take place in February-March next year, with 12 teams divided into two groups. The top four teams from each group will progress to the quarterfinals in this new format. This is the first time the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh since its inception in 1941. The participating teams include six group-stage winners, three best second-placed teams, and three automatic qualifiers. The tournament dates are tentatively set from February 21 to March 9. AIFF acting secretary-general M Satyanarayan M. expressed excitement about the special edition of the tournament being held in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time. The final round draw resulted in Group A featuring Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Goa, Assam, Services, and Kerala, while Group B includes Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Manipur, Mizoram, and Railways.