Bengal's Ranjan Chowhury - Santosh Trophy creates buzz of excitement throughout body

AIFF Media
Speaking to Goal on the eve of the final against Kerala, the Bengal head coach told why the competition is so special to him and the state...

Ranjan Chowdhury is a well-known figure when it comes to football in the state of West Bengal. While he might not have been a trailblazer during his playing days or won a trophy as head coach of a major Kolkata club, an opportunity to win a national honour presents itself on Sunday.

Defending champions Bengal will fight it out with Kerala in the final of the National Football Championship for the 72nd Santosh Trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium. "There's nothing much to speak on the final except for the fact that it is the final, the most important game," Chowdhury told Goal.

Record 32-time champions could have had a spotless record entering the final if not for their only blimp, co-incidentally against Kerala in the group stages. "The fact that we lost, in my opinion, is better for the team.

"That serves a purpose for motivation. We have to reach our final destination successfully," replied a confident looking Chowdhury in hopes of dishing out vengeance for the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Satheevan Balan's side in the group stage.

On his opponents, he added, "They have very good players. I don't want to point up anyone specifically but Kerala are a good unit."

"It's not only about me it's about the whole state, it's important for the people of the state, the players, the officials and for everyone involved. Getting to the semifinals and then the final was important and pretty much like that, winning the final is also important," he answered when asked about the importance of the game in his coaching career.

"Obviously, we have to try hard, will try my best. There'll be nothing more devastating if we don't win it from here after coming to this stage."

The Santosh Trophy has definitely lost some lustre compared to its heydays in the last millennium when thousands would throng the ground to witness the nation's best. Now with the domestic league structure at its strongest, the state championship plays second fiddle in the Indian football calendar.

Chowdhury however, expressed about his love-affair with the tournament, "This Santosh Trophy is something special. There is a bit of nostalgia around this. It's not about being the most successful team, it's also about what kind of involvement the state of Bengal has had. It's something different. When we hear the name Santosh Trophy, a buzz of excitement goes through your body.

"In the olden days showing your potential in the Santosh Trophy was the door to playing for the Indian team. I have told this to my players, they have understood and given me their word to give their best. Let's see," he concluded.