The Guwahati city is all set to host Asia’s oldest football tournament Durand Cup for the second year running.
It is also a matter of great joy for the state as Kokrajhar has become the second venue from Assam to become a Durand host-city.
The football tournament is all set to kick-off on August 3, 2023, with Guwahati hosting nine matches, with a Northeast derby between local side Northeast United FC (NEUFC) and debutants Shillong Lajong scheduled as the first game on the evening of August 4, 2023.
Assam Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Nandita Gorlosa on behalf of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma unveiled the three Durand Cup Trophies in a grand ceremony here at a city hotel on Saturday.
All games, including one quarter final knockout game will be played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. The finals are scheduled for September 3, 2023 in Kolkata.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Minister Gorlosa said, “Assam has been making exceptional progress in sports in recent times with our young athletes representing Indian teams across disciplines. In this context the staging of such premiere national tournaments like the Durand Cup, gives a further boost, particularly to our state’s young and talented footballers, as they get an opportunity to see their favourite teams and stars play in front of them. It is also a matter of great joy for our brothers and sisters in Kokrajhar, which has become the second venue from the state to become a Durand host-city. Top tier national football will be coming to their beautiful land. I am sure the enthusiasm there is at an all time high and under the able leadership of Pramod Boro, Kokrajhar I am confident, will put its best foot forward. I also welcome the foreign teams to India and the state of Assam. I hope they will have a wonderful stay and enjoy success in the tournament. Best wishes to all the participating teams and a big thank you to the Indian Army and the Eastern Command under Lt Gen Kalita, for organizing this iconic tournament in our state with such enthusiasm, efficiency and professionalism.”
Meanwhile, Lt General RP Kalita, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command also addressed the gathering and spoke about the rich tradition of the Durand Cup and its long association with the Indian Armed Forces.
The 132nd edition of the legendary Durand Cup football tournament, organised by the Indian Army on behalf of the three services is the only cup tournament in the country which pits Service Teams along with the top teams from different divisions of Indian Football.
This time the Durand Cup will have 24 teams, up from 20 last time, including all 12 Indian Super League (ISL) sides. Service teams from neighbouring foreign countries of Bangladesh and Nepal, will also be participating in the legacy tournament, making foreign participation in the legendary tournament happening after a long gap of 27 years.