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Kolkata’s ‘Three Giants’ Ready to Shine: Dipendu Biswas Hails Durand Cup as Annual Festival

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Interview: Dipendu Biswas

1) Durand Cup, Asia’s Oldest Football Tournament is now the official season opener of Indian Football. What do you think about this?

Ans) Durand cup is one of the oldest and prestigious tournaments, now it will be the season opener for Indian football. Lot of new faces we can see in this tournament and it will be a boost for all the players.

2) 24 teams will be participating this time in this prestigious tournament. Once again, it is going to be a battle between the I­League, ISL and Army teams. Your views?

Ans) 24 Teams will be participating and there will be big challenges too between I-league, ISL and Army teams. As it is the season opener so I-League teams will try to give their best whereas the ISL teams will put their second team to see their reserve team’s strength but the Kolkata’s “Three Giants” will give their best with their full squad but the other ISL teams might put their reserves and the Army teams are as usual strong all the time so it will be a tough fight.

3) This Durand Cup 2024 will be played in 2 new venues. Meghalaya’s capital Shillong and Jamshedpur will be the new venues. What are your thoughts regarding this?

Ans) Meghalaya and Jamshedpur is a football house and as a football secretary as well as a manager of Mohammedan Sporting Club, we won our first I-league in Meghalaya and in Jamshedpur I played for five years in the Tata Football Academy. So, I know how much they support football from their heart.

4) Domestic Football Competition in India like the Durand Cup is a very good platform for young talented football players. Your views?

Ans) Yes, it is a great platform for young players. I am also known to be a renowned footballer because of this prestigious Durand cup as I played two semifinals in the Durand Cup and I scored against big clubs like Mohun Bagan and got into the limelight of Indian football from this tournament.

5) Do you think that you have all your bases covered in terms of personnel in your squad or will the club look to sign more players?

Ans) Yes Mohammedan Sporting Club is ready for this tournament and our squad is already done and our players are already very excited to play this tournament.

6) Durand Cup then and now. How excited are you for this year’s Durand Cup?

Ans) Earlier the Durand Cup was played only in Delhi and now it is played in four big cities. So, it is now getting very exciting.

7) Your good and bad Durand Cup memories?

Ans) Good memories are when I scored against Mohun Bagan in the year 1996 and it was in the Durand Cup Semifinal and my bad memory is me as a Team Manager when Mohammedan Sporting Club lost in the Finals against FC Goa in the Salt Lake Stadium in the year 2021.

8) Most difficult opposition faced in the Durand Cup both as a player and a team manager?

Ans) As a player against East Bengal and as a manager against Mumbai City FC.

9) Any special message to the supporters and spectators who will be following this year’s Durand Cup?

Ans) Come in Ground as Durand cup is the oldest Tournament in Asia.

10) How has Indian football developed over this year?

Ans) Youth Development has improved.

11) This year’s Durand Cup will also celebrate 25 Years of Kargil Vijay Diwas. There will be a patriotic emotion and atmosphere throughout the tournament. Your views or comments on this?

Ans) Durand Cup is an Army Tournament and this year Kargil Vijay Diwas will also be celebrated so the atmosphere will be much more electrifying with high on emotions. We footballers celebrate the Durand Cup as a “Festival” every year and we wait for this tournament to show our best.

 

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