Santosh Trophy: Mizoram, Railways aim to bag elusive crown
Posted on Mar 08 2014 | IANS
Siliguri, March 8 : Railways will try to break their 48-year-old jinx while Mizoram will look to be first time lucky when the two sides cross swords in the final of the 68th National Championships for Santosh Trophy at the Kanchenjunga Stadium here Sunday.
England had just won the FIFA World Cup for the first time when Railways last triumphed in the Santosh Trophy way back in 1966.
On the other hand Mizoram -- who had not surfaced on the football scene back then -- would be chasing their maiden title since the northeastern side's emergence in the mid-eighties.
"It has been 48 years since we last won the Santosh Trophy and 27 years since our last final appearance. Sunday's match means so much to us. A win can bring us back into the fold," Railways head coach Souren Dutta said.
Railways last made it to the summit clash in 1987. They have previously won the tournament thrice, finishing second best on five occasions.
"It is a great opportunity for Mizoram also to get their name in the history books. They have been the best team in the tournament so far and have won all their matches. It will be a difficult match," Dutta added.
Railways will be without the services of their two first choice centre-backs Vimal Kumar and Rajiv Boro, both suspended for the final owing to double booking.
Mizoram have no injury or suspension concerns as such.
"We will play our natural game and according to our philosophy. Railways are a very fast side and I have seen them improving with every match. They will be high on confidence after that morale boosting semi-final win. It will be a good match," Mizoram coach H. Vanlalthlanga said.
Mizoram have won all their eight matches leading up to the final.
Railways on the contrary have had hiccups en route to the final losing to Assam in the zonals and then dropping four points in the final round which eventually did not matter as they trounced Goa 3-0 to qualify for the semi-final.