Panji [Goa]August 3 (ANI): The Trophy Tour of the 131st edition of the historic Durand Cup football tournament has been launched in Goa, home of reigning champions FC Goa, after being unveiled at a grand ceremony by Rohan Khaunte , the Goa Minister for Tourism, Information Technology and Printing & Stationery.
Lt. Gen. KK Repswal, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman of the Durand Organizing Committee, was also present at the ceremony on August 2 at the Taj Resort & Convention Centre, Panjim.
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Goa, home to defending Durand Cup champions FC Goa, was the final leg of a five-city Trophy Tour, a first in the tournament’s century of existence. The Trophy Tour was launched from Kolkata on July 19, 2022, traveling to Guwahati, Imphal and Jaipur before arriving in the state. After a two-day tour in Goa, the trophies return to Kolkata, the venue for the grand final.
Addressing the gathering, Rohan Khaunte said: “Goa is synonymous with football and it is yet another proud moment for Goan football to host the historic three Durand Cup trophies. The passionate following of the game in the State will ensure that the Trophies are greeted with immense enthusiasm wherever they go.”
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“We thank the Durand Committee for this great initiative as well as for organizing the tournament with such finesse and professionalism. I will of course support FC Goa to defend their title at the start of the tournament, but as true lovers of the game , we wish good luck to all the participating teams and we also wish Lt Gen Repswal a resounding success in leading the tournament.
Lt. Gen. Repswal, SM, VSM, SM, VSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command and Chairman of the Durand Organizing Committee, also shared his thoughts.
“Football in India without Goa is unthinkable and we are delighted to bring the prestigious Durand Trophies to the home of champions FC Goa. They captivated the fans with their courage, professionalism and skill last year and we wish them all the best as they prepare to defend their title. This tour is part of our initiative to develop and popularize the game as well as the Durand Cup and we are extremely grateful to Rohan Khaunte, for taking the time to his busy schedule to encourage us today.
Akshay Tandon, president and co-owner of FC Goa Club spoke on this occasion.
“I am delighted to see the Durand Cup Trophy tour taking place in Goa. The state as you all know is a hotbed of football in the country. The people of Goa love sports and we at FC Goa, let’s work hard for its improvement. I’m also happy that the Durand Cup is back – tournaments like this play a big role in expanding the Indian football calendar, while preserving the legacy of the sport.” did he declare.
“It was a great honor to lift the iconic Durand Cup trophy last year. As defending champions this time, we will do our best to bring the trophy back to Goa.”
After the unveiling, the trophies were displayed at the Indian Army’s Bambolim Camp and an exhibition football match was also played at the FC Goa Club ground at 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 awarded by the people of Shimla in 1904) and the President’s Cup (for permanent maintenance and first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president, in 1956) continue their tour of Goa on August 3, with trophy exhibitions scheduled at Dhempe College in Miramar, MES College in Vasco, ‘INS Hansa, Panjim Church as well as the Mall of Goa in Porvorim.
They are then expected to return to Kolkata on August 4, 2022.
In the 2021 Durand Cup Final played at Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on October 3, Edu Bedia’s 105th-minute strike helped the Men in Orange overcome the challenge posed by the Kolkata-based Muslim to get your 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 Indian Super League (ISL) teams have confirmed their participation. Five I-League teams 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 matches in the Durand Cup this year, with West Bengal hosting the Group A and Group B matches, while Imphal and Guwahati will host the Group C and Group D matches respectively. Knockout matches will be held at all three venues in West Bengal.
The Tournament will culminate with the Grand Final scheduled for September 18, 2022 at VYBK. (ANI)
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