Manipur to co-host 131st edition of Durand Cup
Imphal, July 27 (EMN): For the first time, Manipur will co-host the 131st edition of Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football tournament, along with Assam.
In connection with the upcoming event, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday unveiled the trophies for the tournament in the presence of Manipur Sports minister Govindas Konthoujam, Chief of Staff (Eastern Command) and Chairman Durand Organising Committee Lt. Gen. K K Repswal.
Khuman Lampak main stadium in Imphal is preparing to host 10 group games from August 18 to September 5, 2022.
Biren Singh, an ex-professional footballer himself, also appealed to the people of the state to come out and enjoy the matches and encourage the players and organisers of the Cup.
Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, “It’s a matter of great pride and privilege for me to be associated with this tournament. In 1981, I was part of the winning BSF team as a left wing defender who won the title by defeating JCT Phagwara.”
“So the Durand Cup matches happening in Imphal are like personally walking down the memory lane. 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, adding that Manipur is one of the states producing 42 to 45 Indian Super League players, the highest number.
Highlighting the sacrifices of the Indian Army for the nation, he said earlier, only a paltry amount was awarded which they have enhanced significantly this time to INR 25 lakh.
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 programme to train and groom the youth of Manipur for entry into NDA, IMA and OTA.
Lauding the state’s sporting prowess, the Chief Minister said Manipuri sportspersons are playing in various disciplines and bringing laurels for the nation.
The unveiling ceremony was also attended by Manipur 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, Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee Footballer O Bembem, Padma Shri Awardee Rewben Mashangva, former Indian National player P Renedy Singh among others.
The 131st edition of the Durand Cup will be played at five venues — Khuman Lampak Stadium (Imphal), Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium (Guwahati), Naihati Stadium (Naihati), Kishore Bharati Krirangan and Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata). The iconic Durand Cup trophies were flagged-off from Kolkata on July 19 and reached Guwahati in Assam on July 21.
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 Durand Cup.