Spreading the beautiful game across different states is one of the key objectives in Vision 2047, and the Federation has begun that process by taking the Hero Santosh Trophy to newer heights. The Hero Santosh Trophy is now on a revival path, with the tournament's semi-finals and final set to be hosted abroad for the first time – in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The-aiff.com will be following the progress of the four semi-finalists and other events around the Hero Santosh Trophy closely in a series of stories.
AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: History is about to be made. The Hero Santosh Trophy, for the first time ever, will shift base outside the Indian Subcontinent, to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the semi-finals will be played on March 1, and the 3rd placed match and final will be played on March 4.
From 36 teams in the Group Stage, which was played across six venues, we came down to 12 teams (10 qualifiers from the Group Stage, along with Services and Railways, who had direct entry) in the Final Round in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, where the states were divided into two groups of six each. Now, at the business end of the competition, Punjab and Karnataka have made it to the semis as the top two in Group A of the Final Round, while Services and Meghalaya qualified as that in Group B.
The Hero Santosh Trophy’s Arabian tale will get underway at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, an arena that has been most recently graced by one of the world’s finest, perhaps one of history’s finest – Cristiano Ronaldo of Al Nassr FC.
Punjab and Meghalaya will be the first to grace the hallowed turf, when they cross swords on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 5.30 pm IST, followed by the second semi-final, where Services will take on Karnataka at 9 pm IST at the same venue.
The teams that lose the two semi-finals will face each other in the 3rd Place Match at the King Fahd International Stadium, which will kick-off on March 4 at 6 pm, IST, with the final being played the following day at the same venue at 9 PM IST.
March 1: Punjab vs Meghalaya, 5.30 pm IST
March 1: Services vs Karnataka, 9 pm IST
3rd Place Match:
March 4: Loser SF1 vs Loser SF2, 6 pm IST
March 4: Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2, 9 pm IST