Santosh Trophy: Kerala omit Viknesh after forward fails dope test

Santosh Trophy: Kerala omit Viknesh after forward tests positive
From left: M Viknesh, Rizwan Ali and Nijo Gilbert celebrate a goal against Jammu & Kashmir in the Santosh Trophy qualifers. File photo: KFA

Kerala have suffered a big blow ahead of the Santosh Trophy final round in Bhubaneswar with forward M Viknesh failing a test by the National Anti-Doping Agency during the National Games in Gujarat last October.

Viknesh, who tested positive for terbutaline, has been replaced in the 22-member squad by reserve player Asif O M from Ernakulam.

Defending champions Kerala are placed in Group A along with Goa, Karnataka, hosts Odisha, Maharashtra and Punjab.

Kerala take on Goa in their opening Group A match on Friday.

Group B consists of Delhi, Meghalaya, Railways, Services, West Bengal and Manipur.

The top two from each group will advance to the semifinals. 

The semifinals and final will be held in Saudi Arabia.

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