Imphal: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Wednesday unveiled the Trophies for the 131st Edition of the Durand Cup 2022, here and appealed to the people of the State to come out and enjoy the matches and encourage the players and organizers of the Cup, who have brought the Cup to the State to provide exposure to the State’s sporting talents.
The 131st edition of the Cup will be played in the three States – Manipur, Assam and West Bengal. In what is also a historic moment for the State, all three Durand Trophies, the President’s Cup, the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy have reached Imphal and were unveiled by the Chief Minister during the ceremony.
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. All seven knockout games will be held in three venues in West Bengal. The opening pool matches are slated to begin on August 16th at Kolkata’s VYBK, on August 17th at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium and August 18th at the Khuman Lampakh stadium with the nationaly popular local derby between Neroca FC and TRAU FC.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, the Chief Minister said it is indeed a matter of great pride and privilege to be present at the monumental event of unveiling ceremony of trophies for the 131st edition of the Durand Cup, 2022. He thanked the Indian Army and the organizers of the Cup for bringing the iconic tournament to the “Football passionate State of Manipur.”
“I wish the 131st edition of Durand Cup 2022 all the very best and I assure all support in making the tournament bigger and better than the previous years,” he said and further wished the participating teams.
He said Manipur is one of the States producing the highest number of Indian Super League players.
Stating that he had himself played in the tournament as a Left defender for BSF in the 1981 edition in which his team won the trophy at Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi, the Chief Minister said that Durand Cup matches happening in Imphal is like personally walking down the memory lane.
The Chief Minister wished all success to the tournament and also appreciated YAS Minister Govindas Konthoujam and his team for their efforts.
N. Biren Singh said 10 league matches will be played in Imphal.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the sacrifices of the Indian Army for the Nation and said that to further strengthen the bond with the Armed Forces, the Cabinet reviewed the remuneration awarded for gallantry award winners of the Armed Forces. He said earlier, only a paltry amount was awarded which we have enhanced significantly this time to Rs. 25 lakhs.
He said Manipur has the highest per capita officers in Armed forces in the country and further congratulated the Red Shield Division in their initiative to launch an outreach program to train and groom the youth of Manipur for entry into NDA, IMA and OTA and further assured assistance to the Red Shield Division.
Lauding the State’s sporting prowess, the Chief Minister said Manipuri sportspersons are playing in various disciplines and bringing laurels for the nation.
Also sharing his thoughts on the occasion Lt. Gen. Repswal, SM, VSM, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman Durand Organising Committee, said, “It is wonderful to be in Manipur, a state that has contributed so much to Indian football. It is no surprise to all of us that the Hon. Chief Minister Shri. Biren Singh himself is a past football professional and we are honoured by his presence here today on this historic occasion for his beloved state. The cooperation from the Manipur Government has been hugely encouraging and exceptional. The support has been overwhelming and has further boosted our spirits in our endeavor to promote and spread the spirit of Durand further East.”
The unveiling ceremony was also attended by Minister Youth Affairs and Sports, Govindas Konthoujam, Chief Secretary Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Major General Navin Sachdeva, Major General Sharawat, IGAR (South), Lieutenant General (Retd) K. Himalaya Singh, distinguished guests from military and state administration, Padmashri and Arjuna Awardee Footballer O. Bembem, Padmashri Awardee Rewben Mashangva, former Indian National player P. Renedy Singh among others.
The 131st edition of the Durand Cup will be played at the 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 team, NEROA FC, TRAU FC, SUDEVA FC of Delhi and Rajasthan United FC will play in this edition of the Durand Cup.
About Durand Cup
A symbol of India’s football history and culture, the Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament, held between 16 top Indian football clubs across divisions. Organized by the Indian Armed Forces, the Durand Cup has been the breeding ground for India’s best footballing talent, over the years.
The inaugural edition happened in Shimla in 1888, when it started off as an Army Cup, open only to the British Indian Army troops in India, but soon opened up to civilian teams. Named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of British India from 1884 to 1894, the iconic tournament reached its 131st edition in 2022. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been the most successful teams, winning the tournament 16 times each.