Nandita Gorlosa, Minister, Sports and Youth Welfare, Government of Assam today unveiled the three magnificent Durand Cup Trophies in a grand ceremony here at a city hotel. The three trophies are on a three-day tour of the city. Also present on the occasion was Lt. Gen. R.P. Kalita, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, among other dignitaries and members of the press.
The 132nd Edition of the legendary Durand Cup football tournament, organized by the Indian Army on behalf of the three Services is the only Cup tournament in the country which pits Service Teams along with the top teams from different divisions of Indian football. It is set for kick-off on August 03, 2023, with Guwahati hosting nine matches, with a North-East derby between local side North-East United FC (NEUFC) and debutants Shillong Lajong scheduled as the first game on the evening of August 04, 2023. All games, including one quarter-final knockout game will be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium. The finals are scheduled for September 03,2023, in Kolkata. Guwahati will be playing host to the Durand Cup for the second year running.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Gorlosa said, “Assam has been making exceptional progress in sports in recent times with our young athletes representing Indian teams across disciplines. In this context the staging of such premiere national tournaments like the Durand Cup, gives a further boost, particularly to our state’s young and talented footballers, as they get an opportunity to see their favourite teams and stars play in front of them. It is also a matter of great joy for our brothers and sisters in Kokrajhar, which has become the second venue from the state to become a Durand host-city. Top tier national football will be coming to their beautiful land. I am sure the enthusiasm there is at an all-time high and under the able leadership of Pramod Boro, Kokrajhar I am confident, will put its best foot forward. I also welcome the foreign teams to India and the state of Assam. I hope they have a wonderful stay and enjoy success in the tournament. Best wishes to all the participating teams and a big thank you to the Indian Army and the Eastern Command under Lt. Gen. Kalita, for organizing this iconic tournament in our state with such enthusiasm, efficiency and professionalism.”
Lt. Gen. Kalita, also addressed the gathering and spoke about the rich tradition of the Durand Cup and its long association with the Indian Armed Forces.
The three Trophies unique to the tournament are, the Durand Cup (a rolling trophy and the original prize), the Shimla Trophy (also a rolling trophy and first given by the resident of Shimla in 1904) and the President’s Cup (for permanent keep and first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, in 1956).
They begin their Tour of Guwahati on July 15, 2023 and will visit such landmarks as Royal Global University, the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati Town Club, Maa Kamakhya Temple, Govindam Sweet, Dr. D. Baruah College and Roodraksh Mall among others. The Trophies will be also be on public display at the State War Memorial on July 15th, at the City Centre Mall on July 16th and at the Cotton College and IOCL on July 17th, 2023.
The three Durand trophies were jointly flagged-off for a 15-city Trophy Tour on Friday, Jun 30, 2023, in Delhi, by General Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, Air Chief Marshal VK Chaudhary, Chief of Air Staff and Shri. Kalyan Chaubey, President, All India Football Federation (AIFF). Udhampur was the third-stop in the tour after the Trophies travelled to Dehradun on Sunday.
Before embarking upon Guwahati, the trophies have already visited the cities of Dehradun, Udhampur, Jaipur, Pune, Mumbai, Karwar, Ezhimala and Kochi. Their next stop is Bengaluru. The other cities that the tour will cover include Kokrajhar, and Shillong. They will also visit Kathmandu and Dhaka, before flagging-into Kolkata, the venue of the finals.
This time the Durand Cup will have 24 teams, up from 20 last time, including all 12 Indian Super League (ISL) sides. Service teams from neighbouring foreign countries of Bangladesh and Nepal, will also be participating in the legacy tournament, making foreign participation in the legendary tournament happening after a long gap of 27 years.