Imphal: Preparations are going on in full swing for hosting the Group – C matches of the 131st Durand Cup, 2022 in Imphal. The Asia’s oldest football tournament is being held in three different States viz West Bengal, Assam and Manipur for the first time.
Chennaiyin FC, Hyderabad FC, NEROCA FC, TRAU FC and Army Red FT are in the Group – C of the tournament and the Manipur chapter of the tournament will kick off with the much awaited Manipur derby between NEROCA FC and TRAU FC at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium at 6 pm on August 18. A total of 10 league matches will be played in Imphal.
As the tournament is being organized by the Indian Army with support from the State Government, Chief Minister N. Biren had chaired a meeting of the local organizing committee which comprises Army officers and State Government officials to review the preparedness of the tournament at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on July 20, 2022.
16 different sub-committees viz. Security, Fire Safety, Traffic Management, Reception, Accommodation, Transport, Infrastructure, Technical and Information Technology, Ground Development, Health, Hospitality, Water Supply, Waste Management, Cultural Programme, Publicity and Information and Power Supply have been formed for the smooth and successful conduct of the tournament. One Nodal Officer each from the State Government Departments concerned has been nominated to work in coordination with their counterparts of the Indian Army.
Officials from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Event Management Group Cherry Tree have started arriving in the State capital to oversee the preparations going on. Stadium renovation, painting, electrification, plumbing works, mending of approach roads, etc. are almost complete. Pitch maintenance is also going on with full progress.
CCTV cameras have been installed all over the stadium to keep vigil of any untoward incident. A foolproof security plan has been chalked out by the Manipur Police in this regard. On the other hand, necessary hotel rooms and transportation are kept ready for the visiting players and officials for a warm reception.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister N. Biren Singh unveiled the trophies of the tournament in a glittering function at City Convention Centre, Imphal on July 27 in the presence of Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Govindas Konthoujam; Chief Secretary. Dr. Rajesh Kumar; Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman of Durand Cup Organising Committee, Lt. Gen. KK Repswal and other top military and civil officers.
The 131st edition of Durand Cup will be played at five venues of Khuman Lampak Stadium (Imphal), Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium (Guwahati), Naihati Stadium (Naihati), Kishore Bharati Krirangan and Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata). Altogether 20 teams, including defending champions FC Goa and runners-up from last year, Mohammedan Sporting, 11 teams from the Indian Super League, four Services teams, NEROA FC, TRAU FC, SUDEVA FC of Delhi and Rajasthan United FC will play in this edition of the Cup.