Shillong, Dec 1: Runners-up the last time round, Meghalaya have been drawn in Group A of the senior men’s National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy 2023-24, which will take place in Arunachal Pradesh.

The draw for the 77th edition of the tournament was conducted at All India Football Federation headquarters in New Delhi yesterday.

Preliminary rounds have already taken place in different parts of the country, with Arunachal set to host the final rounds tentatively from 21st February to 9th March. This is the first time that the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh.

The hosts, defending champions Karnataka and finalists from the 76th edition Meghalaya automatically qualified for the final rounds.

TSR has wondered whether not having to go through the prelims wasn’t actually a bad thing for the state team as Meghalaya failed to win a single match in the recent National Games in Goa.

Putting that to one side, Meghalaya will now meet hosts Arunachal, Goa, Assam, Services and Kerala in Group A.

Group B consists of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi, Manipur, Mizoram and Railways.

The participating teams include six group stage winners (Goa, Delhi, Manipur, Assam, Services and Maharashtra), three best second-placed teams (Kerala, Mizoram and Railways), and the three automatic qualifiers.

Four out of the six teams from each group will progress to the quarterfinals, which will be Meghalaya’s first aim.

(File photo)

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