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131st Durand Cup Trophy Tour kickstarts in home of defending champions FC Goa

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Mumbai: The Trophy Tour for the 131st edition of the historic Durand Cup football tournament was kickstarted in Goa, the home of the defending champions FC Goa, after they were unveiled in a grand ceremony by Shri. Rohan Khaunte, the Hon. Minister of Goa for Tourism, Information Technology and Printing and Stationery.

Also present at the function was Lt Gen K. K. Repswal, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman Durand Organising Committee.

Goa was the final stop of a five-city Trophy Tour, a first in the tournament’s century-long existence. The Trophy Tour was flagged off from Kolkata on July 19, 2022, travelling to Guwahati, Imphal and Jaipur before arriving in the State. After a two-day tour in Goa, the trophies return to Kolkata, the venue of the Grand Finale.

Addressing the gathering, Shri. Rohan Khaunte, said, “Goa is synonymous with football and it is yet another moment of pride for Goan football to host the three historic Durand Cup trophies. The passionate following for the game in the state will ensure that the Trophies are received with tremendous enthusiasm wherever they go.

“We thank the Durand Committee for this wonderful initiative and also for organizing the tournament with such finesse and professionalism. I will of course be rooting for FC Goa to defend their title when the tournament begins, but as true lovers of the game, we wish all participating teams best of luck. We also wish Lt Gen Repswal rip-roaring success with the conduct of the tournament.

“This year sees the Durand Cup being hosted in different states and in the coming years, we hope to see Goa as a host for the tournament as well.”

Also sharing his thoughts was Lt Gen K.K. Repswal, SM, VSM, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman Durand Organising Committee. He said “Football in India without Goa is unthinkable and it gives us tremendous pleasure to bring the prestigious Durand Trophies to the home of the champions FC Goa. They enthralled the fans with their grit, professionalism and skills last year and we wish them all the best as they prepare to defend their title.

“This tour is part of our initiative to grow and popularize the game as well as the Durand Cup and we are extremely grateful to the Hon. Rohan Khaunte, for taking time out from his busy schedule to encourage us today.”

Lt Gen Repswal also revealed the Durand Cup’s intentions to expand to a 24 or 28-team event in the coming years, and addressed the possibility of it being a multi-city tournament. “This year, the Durand Cup will be held in West Bengal, Guwahati and Imphal. We hope the tournament will be a big success, and in future become a 24 or 28-team tournament with matches held across multiple venues all over the country – including Goa,” he added.

Akshay Tandon, FC Goa Club President and co-owner spoke on the occasion. He said, “I’m elated to see the Durand Cup Trophy Tour happen in Goa. The state, as you all know, is a hotbed of football in the country. The people of Goa love the sport and we at FC Goa have the great privilege of being the flag bearers for the State.

“I’m also happy that the Durand Cup is back – tournaments like these play a big role in the expansion of the Indian football calendar, while at the same time keeping the legacy of the sport intact,” he said.

“It was a great honour to lift the iconic Durand Cup trophy last year. As the defending champions this time, we will do our best to bring the trophy back to Goa.”

Post the unveiling, the Trophies were put on display at the Bambolim camp of the Indian Army and an exhibition football game was also played at the FC Goa Club ground in the Salvador do Mundo Panchayat.

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) continue their tour of Goa on August 3, with Trophy displays planned at the Dhempe College in Miramar, the MES College in Vasco, at the INS Hansa, the Panjim Church as well as the Mall de Goa in Porvorim.

They are then set to return to Kolkata on August 4, 2022.

FC Goa begin campaign in Durand Cup opener against Mohammedan SC

Durand Cup 2022, which is the 131st edition of the prestigious tournament, is scheduled from August 16 to September 18, 2022, with the first game to be played between defending champions FC Goa and the runner-up from last year, Mohammedan Sporting Club.

This will be the third time that the Gaurs are participating in the Durand Cup, coming on the back of a stellar campaign last year that saw them remain undefeated throughout the tournament.

In the Durand Cup 2021 finals played at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on October 3, Edu Bedia’s 105th-minute strike helped the Men in Orange overcome the challenge posed by Kolkata-based Mohammedan to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time ever.

This year, the Durand Cup has grown to 20 teams from 16 last year and all 11 teams of the Indian Super League (ISL) have confirmed participation. Five teams from the I-League and four Services teams will also be vying for the coveted honours.

FC Goa are in Group A alongside Mohammedan SC, Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force.

There will be a total of 47 games in the Durand Cup this year, with West Bengal hosting Group A and Group B matches, while Imphal and Guwahati will host Group C and Group D games respectively. All the seven knockout games will be held across the three venues in West Bengal.

The Tournament will culminate with the Grand Finale scheduled on September 18, 2022, at VYBK.

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 20 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 130th edition in 2021. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been the most successful teams, winning the tournament 16 times each.

FC Goa are the current holders of the Durand Cup, having won the tournament in 2021.

About FC Goa

FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL) and is the current holder of the Super Cup.  Nicknamed the Gaurs, FC Goa has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the ISL – reaching 4 semi-finals and 2 finals in 8 seasons.

In Season 2019-20, the club won the ISL League Winners Shield by finishing top of the table in the league stages and also became the first-ever club from India to play in the group stages of the AFC Champions League in April 2021.

Co-owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, Mr Akshay Tandon and Mr Virat Kohli, FC Goa is one of the few Indian Clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. Its U14, U16, U18 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and India. The system has produced recognizable talents like Liston Colaco, Saviour Gama, Princeton Rebello and many more.

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