• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

KOLKATA WARMS UP TO 132ND DURAND CUP TOURNAMENT WITH VIBRANT OPENING CEREMONY

ByNE India Broadcast

Aug 3, 2023

It was a memorable evening for the passionate football fans of the ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata who were overwhelmed by the breathtaking opening ceremony of the 132nd Durand Cup Football Tournament at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) stadium. The football enthusiasts of the city were overjoyed to welcome the 132nd Durand Cup Tournament, Asia’s oldest football tournament. Each year the tournament is eagerly awaited by the sports fans of the region for whom Durand Cup signifies a lasting legacy. The tournament is a season opener for football in our country and has been instrumental in providing a platform for grooming and showcasing the young talent of our country.

The vibrant occasion was conducted in the presence of Mamata Banerjee,Chief Minister, West Bengal, who presided over the festivities as Chief Guest. The other dignitaries present on the occasion were Gen Manoj Pande, PVSM AVSM VSM ADC, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Aroop Biswas, Hon. Minister in Charge for Youth Services and Sports, Housing and Power, Government of West Bengal and Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command.

Addressing the audience the Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee welcomed the Bangladesh Army team to Kolkata and wished them all the success. She complimented the Bangladesh Army Team for extending friendship through sports and increasing bonhomie, camaraderie and ‘Maitreyi’ of the two Nations. Complementing the Armed Forces for organising the mega football event she conveyed her best wishes for the successful conduct of the tournament.

The audience of around 10,000 football fans were dazzled by a scintillating cultural programme displaying a wide gamut of indigenous sports and song & dance performances by the Indian Army that set the ball rolling for a fresh season of renewed hope regarding the future of the game in India. Kalaripayattu, the martial sport from Kerala, the popular Bhangra, Kukri Dance, a performance of the traditional Punjabi sport of Gatka as well as a rendition of a popular Assamese folk song, kept the dignitaries thoroughly entertained. Also released on the occasion was the video of the Durand theme song featuring Bollywood star Vicky Kaushal sung by popular playback singer Arijit Singh, who hails from West Bengal and Rapper Divine.

The game began post the introduction of the team line-ups with the Chief Guest and other dignitaries and a photo opportunity to conclude the programme. In the football match which followed, the first of 43 in a little over a month, the Bangladesh Army Football Team played to home favourites and reigning Indian Super League champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant x-y in a Group A encounter.

The Bangladesh team are one of two foreign teams, the other being the Tribhuvan Army Football Club of Nepal, taking part in the legendary tournament after a gap of 27 years. Now with participation of two of the Teams, the tournament is gaining a wider appeal in South Asia. These teams have been training together and now they will be playing together which will definitely lead to ‘friendship through sports’. The synergy, cooperation and camaraderie that these sportsmen will generate will have a lasting positive impact in the region.

The 132nd Edition of the tournament will be conducted from the 03 August 2023 to 03 September 2023 which will be spread over three cities, viz Kolkata, Guwahati and Kokrajhar. This year 24 teams will be participating in the tournament which includes all 11 teams from Indian Super League, 7 from Indian League, 2 Foreign Services teams three Services teams and a team from Bodoland Territorial Region. ‘Downtown Heroes’, a football club from Kashmir, representing the beautiful valley of Kashmir is also participating in Durand Cup Tournament. It is expected that their participation will be inspirational to the youth of the valley and motivate them to canalise their energies in a positive direction. The team was thankful to Indian Army and the government for the support extended in their preparation.

After the fantastic opening ceremony, Football fans across the country will now be eagerly anticipating superb display of sportsmanship and skill from Durand Cup participants. The tournament is a befitting season opener for Indian Football.

Source: Army Authorities
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

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