Shillong: The 132nd Durand Cup Football Tournament is poised to set the pulse of the Nation racing from August 3rd to September 3rd, 2023. Organised under the aegis of the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS), whose President is the Chief of Defence Staff and Vice-President’s are the three Service Chiefs, this year’s edition witnessed a grand unveiling of the three iconic Durand trophies, at the State Convention Centre Shillong, by Shri. Conrad Sangma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya, on July 21, 2023.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Shri. Sangma said, “I first of all would like to thank general Sanjay Malik for having agreed to have this program here today to unveil the trophies. I am happy and satisfied that we will be one of the hosts for 2024 Durand Cup, and while we do that, large infrastructure is being created in many parts of the state. So when 2024 approaches next year, we will be fully ready to host you in the best possible manner.”
Also speaking on the occasion, Lieutenant General Sanjay Malik, General Officer Commanding 101 Area, complimented the sporting culture of the North Eastern Region and highlighted that this year’s tournament is trailblazing for Meghalaya. He brought out that for the first time ever, Shillong Lajong Football Club, will be participating in the Durand Cup and it is in the fitness of things that the trophies are also being unveiled at Shillong, for the first time ever.
The Senior Air Staff Officer of Eastern Air Command ,Air Marshal Tejinder Singh , senior military and civil officials and a large number of enthusiastic kids were also present on the occasion.
The three trophies viz the Durand Cup Trophy and the Shimla Trophy (both rolling trophies) and the President’s Cup (for keeping permanently) were taken on a grand tour of the city. With overwhelming public presence and applause along the way, it was a scintillating evening for the football loving residents of Shillong. The engaging public display culminated with a grand celebration at Khyndailad, with musical performances by a local band and by the Jazz band of the Army. The presence of players of Shillong Lajong Football Club was memorable for the crowd and the overwhelming public support, greatly enthused the players.
Shillong Lajong will be playing their first match on the evening of August 04, 2023, against the Northeast United FC at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.
The 15 cities tour of the three Durand trophies was jointly flagged-off on Jun 30, 2023 from Delhi, by General Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Chief of Army Staff, Air Chief Marshal VK Chaudhary, Chief of Air Staff and Shri Kalyan Chaubey, President, All India Football Federation (AIFF). It is covering Dehradun, Udhampur, Jaipur, Pune, Mumbai, Karwar, Ezhimala, Kochi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kokrajhar, Guwahati, Shillong, Kathmandu and Dhaka.
This edition of the Durand Cup will have 24 teams, up from 20 last time. All 12 Indian Super League (ISL) sides are taking part in the matches and the finals will be played at Kolkata. Service teams from neighbouring foreign countries of Bangladesh and Nepal, will also be participating in the legendary tournament.