Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma unveiled three Durand Cup trophies at a ceremony here on Thursday.
The 134-year-old iconic Durand Cup football tournament will be hosted by Assam for the very first time and as part of a trophy tour involving five cities, Guwahati, the venue for 10 Group D games, was chosen as the first stop.
Taking to Twitter, Sarma said, “Glad to unveil 3 trophies of 134-year-old Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football tournament, to be held in Assam for the first time from August 17 to September 4 in Guwahati. 20 teams from across the country, including 11 ISL teams, will participate.”
“I urge all sports enthusiasts in Assam and Northeast to enjoy the Durand Cup matches. We shall arrange special buses for spectators. My gratitude to the Indian Army for selecting Guwahati among 5 cities in the country to host the first 10 Group D matches of the prestigious tournament,” Sarma said.
Lt. Gen. K. K. Repswal, chief of staff, Eastern Command and chairman, Durand Organising Committee; Lt. Gen. KC Panchanathan, general officer commanding-in-chief, 101 Area, and Major General Vikas Saini, GOC, 51 Sub Area attended the ceremony.
“I thank the honourable chief minister for taking time out from his busy schedule to encourage us in this effort at promoting and spreading the love of the game of football further in the state. Cooperation from the Assam government has been phenomenal and we are confident that this will herald a new beginning for the game in the state,” Lt Gen. Repswal said.
Twenty top teams of the country, including all 11 teams from the top division Indian Super League (ISL) are participating in the tournament as against 16 teams last year.
The matches in Guwahati will be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
The three trophies, the Durand Cup (a rolling trophy and the original prize), the Shimla Trophy (also a rolling trophy and first given by the residents 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) are on a five-city tour.
Flagged off from Kolkata on July 19, 2022, and after being in Guwahati for two days, the trophies would be taken to Imphal, the first-time hosts. It will then proceeds to Jaipur, as for the first time the state of Rajasthan would be fielding a team and will then make a final stop at the home of the defending champions, FC Goa, before returning to Kolkata on July 31st, 2022.
Kolkata is the venue of the opening game on August 16, 2022, as well as the grand finale on September 18, 2022.
There will be a total of 47 games in the 131st Durand Cup edition, with both Guwahati and Imphal hosting 10-games of group C and group D each, even as all the seven knockout games are held in three West Bengal venues.
The opening pool matches are slated to begin on August 16 at Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), August 17 at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and August 18 at Imphal’s Khuman Lampak Stadium.
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