General Manoj Pande, The Chief of the Army Staff, along with Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Air Staff and Mr Kalyan Chaubey, President All India Foootball Federation (AIFF) flagged off the “Trophy Tour” of the 132nd edition of Durand Cup, India’s oldest football tournament at a ceremony organised at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on 30 June 2023. The tournament is scheduled to commence at Kolkata from 03 August to 03 September 2023. Amongst the large number of attendees were young football enthusiasts and eminent sports personalities.
Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament, in which top Indian football clubs from across the country participate. Organised by the Indian Armed Forces, the Durand Cup has been the breeding ground for India’s best footballing talent over the years. The inaugural edition took place in Shimla in 1888, when it started off as an Army Cup, open only to the British Indian Army troops in India, but soon opened up to civilian teams as well.
The Durand Cup tournament is unique where in the winning team walks away with three trophies, i.e the Durand Cup (a rolling trophy and the original prize), the Shimla Trophy (also a rolling trophy and first given by the residents of Shimla in 1904) and the President’s Cup (for permanent keep and first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, in 1956). Over the next one month, the three trophies as part of a Trophy Tour will traverse the length and breadth of the country with appearance at some major cities like Shimla, Udhampur, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Kokrajhar, Guwahati and Shillong before reaching Kolkata for the mega event.
The 132nd edition of the tournament will witness participation of 24 teams including teams from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, the foreign teams are taking part in the tournament after a gap of 27 years. The tournament is open to all club teams and conducted by the Durand Football Tournament Society (DFTS) under the aegis of All India Football Federation (AIFF). The tournament in essence has always symbolized the high point of excellence, sportsmanship and competitiveness in the field of sports.