Shabbir Ali retained as Bengal coach for Santosh trophy

Updated: Mar 31, 2012, 22:21 PM IST

Kolkata: In pursuit of a hat-trick of titles, 31-time winners Bengal retained Shabbir Ali as coach for the 66th Santosh Trophy National Football Tournament, to be held in Orissa from May 11-27.

"It`s really a proud moment for me. I`m excited to coach Bengal for the third season," Shabbir Ali, who had coached Bengal to triumphs in 2010 and 2011, told PTI.

The title in 2010 was significant for Bengal as it had come after a wait of 11 years.

Last year, Bengal defeated Manipur in Guwahati for their 31st triumph.

Ali, who is in Hyderabad, said he would arrive on Monday and discuss with the India Football Aassociation about the team composition and the camp, which is likely to begin in the last week of April.

Bengal have been seeded directly into the quarterfinal league stage, which will feature 16 teams divided into four groups.

Top teams from the four groups will make the semis.