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04/07/24 | 12:22 pm

Durand Cup to begin on July 27, Shillong and Jamshedpur to be new venues

By: Aditya Ahuja

The 133rd edition of the Durand Cup football tournament will kick off on July 27.

The schedule for the tournament was announced by HQ Eastern Command of the Indian Army, on behalf of the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS), which shall organise this year’s edition of Asia’s oldest football tournament.

Two new cities, Jamshedpur and Shillong, have been added as host cities this year. Kokrajhar in Assam shall be playing host for the second consecutive year, besides Kolkata, which has been a host for the last five years of the tournament.

The 133rd edition will see 24 teams with representation from the widest possible spectrum of Indian football, like the Indian Super League, I-League and other invitational teams, as well as teams from the Armed Forces. Also, like last year, international teams are expected to participate this year too.

Speaking on the preparations for the tournament, Lieutenant General Ram Chander Tiwari said that the Durand Cup is a source of immense pride for the Eastern Command of Indian Army.

“The Durand Cup is a source of immense pride for the Eastern Command. The event has become a cornerstone in the landscape of Indian football and a beacon of sporting excellence. Football is more than just a sport. It is a unifying force that brings together people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and walks of life. It embodies the spirit of teamwork, perseverance, and fair play. The Durand Cup, with its long-standing tradition, epitomizes these values and continues to inspire countless young athletes to dream big and strive for excellence,” Lt Gen Tiwari said.

“We in the military take great pride in organising the Durand Cup and it also strengthens civil-military relationship in the country. We sincerely thank the State Governments of all the four states for their unrelenting support. This year, the Durand Cup promises to be more exciting and competitive than ever before. I wish all involved yet another successful Durand Cup Tournament and may the best team win.”

A total of 43 matches would be played in a round-robin league-cum-knockout format, with the finals scheduled at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata. The 24 teams will be divided into six groups. A total of eight teams – group toppers and two best second-placed sides would qualify for the knockout stage.

Kolkata will host three groups, while Kokrajhar, Shillong and Jamshedpur will host one group each. The three coveted Durand Trophies will be flagged off for a nationwide tour from New Delhi on July 10 before they reach Kolkata ahead of the opening game on July 27.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant are the defending champions, having won the tournament for a record 17th time, the most by any team, last year.

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