With time running out the All India Football Federation finally stepped in to help the players while seeking the help of the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association to finalise the Tamil Nadu team for the Santosh Trophy national football championship.

Runner-up last year, Tamil Nadu plays its first match on February 21 at Kollam.

With the AIFF taking the stand that there was a legal tangle in the Tamil Nadu Football Association and the matter was still sub-judice, the General Secretary Kushal Das in a letter sought the role of TNOA while finalising the team in the presence of the coaches — D. Sekaran, Unni — former internationals Celestine and Orlando Rayan.

Whether the team will go under the banner of TNOA is not clear but Secretary-General Murugan is clear: “We are in no way involved in the selection of the side.

“That was done by the coaches and the two former international players. We were told that since the whole issue was still in the court, and since the team list had to be submitted at least 10 days in advance, we were requested by the AIFF to oversee,” he added.

Once the team was selected the senior vice-president of TNOA W.I. Davaram had it forwarded to the Federation.

Meanwhile, Sekaran, who had been the State coach in 1999 when Tamil Nadu hosted the championship, was happy with the bunch.

“The selection of the team was purely on merit and current form. The 10-day camp gave a fair idea of the talent in store.

“Most of the players had played last time in Cuttack. I feel this team is good enough to go far,” said Sekaran, with confidence.

As for why coach Chandrasekaran, who was there in the camp, does not find his name in the squad, Sekaran said, he believed only three officials, including the manager could accompany the team.

The team: Goalkeepers: Arun Pradeep (Customs), Alex (AGORC), Vignesh (FCI); Defenders: Sathish (Customs), Hariharan (SAI), Dinakaran (IT), Naveen (AGORC), Prasad (Arrows), Nirmal (Customs).

Mid-fielders: Sudhakar (Customs), S. Karthik (Indian bank), Sathishkumar (Customs), Charles (Railways), Vikram Vishwas Patil (Indian bank), Stejin (AGORC).

Strikers: Reagan (IT), Amiruddin (SAI), David (ICF), Azeem (Central Excise), Jayakumar (Customs).

Chief coach: D. Sekaran; Assistant Coach: Unni (SAI); Manager: Orlando Rayan.

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