• Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

THIS YEAR DURAND IS MUCH BIGGER THAN BEFORE AND WE ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH THE GOAL OF PLAYING IN THE FINAL OF DURAND CUP: DIPENDU BISWAS

Dipendu Biswas, former renowned striker of Indian National team, who is currently the football Manager of the ISL outfit Mohammedan Sporting Club.

A graduate from the Tata Football Academy in 1996 this dedicated and passionate footballer had a vast fan following in his playing career.During 1990s, he had dominated the Indian Football and represented the country as well.Formed in February 1891, Mohammedan Sporting is one of the oldest active football clubs in the country.

Photo: Dipendu Biswas with Brazilian legend Pele

This year Dipendu is the Team Manager of MSC in upcoming Durand.

Just Before this Glorious tournament a candid talk with Dipendu Biswas.

EXCERPTS:

24 teams will be participating in upcoming Durand. This time it’s going to be a battle amongst the I-League, ISL and Armed Forces teams.What is your opinion on this?

In this year’s Durand Cup, all teams will enter the field with much more preparation. So this time it will be understood which team is the best ISL or I-League?

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 and the other ISL teams might put their reserves and the Indian Army team is as usual strong all the time so it will be a tough fight.

Say something about your Team’s preparation?

We have already signed six new foreigners with the Durand Cup in mind this year. Our performance in Durand Cup last three years was quite good. Therefore, due to good results in the past, we have already recruited some foreign players from Ghana, Congo, Argentina, Uzbekistan and Brazil .We have been a finalist in 2021 and semi-finalist in 2022 in the Durand.So Mohammedan is looking at Durand Cup very seriously this year as well. And we are moving forward with the goal of playing in the final.

Shillong and Jamshedpur are the two new venues for Durand Cup 2024.Any comment?

We won our first I-league this year in Meghalaya and in Jamshedpur I played long five years in the Tata Football Academy. So, I know how much they support football from their heart.

Share some precious memories of Durand Cup?

“As I feel Durand Cup has a great contribution behind footballer Dipendu Biswas’s career. In 1995-96 I participated in the Durand Cup on behalf of Tata Football Academy. I scored against Mohun Bagan in the semi-final that year. That match was the turning point of my football life. So from that Durand Cup I was established in Indian football. That’s why the Durand Cup is always a special tournament for me.

This year Durand Cup will be the season opener.What do you think?

It will be an advantage that this Durand will conquer the minds quickly among sports lovers. So from the beginning, I think there will be extra enthusiasm for the Durand this year.Lots of new faces we can see and it will be a boost for all the players.

Durand Cup then and now. What’s the difference?

Earlier the Durand Cup centered only around the city of Delhi. And this tournament used to be held in winter. But now it is spread over different states of India. So we can say that this year Durand is much bigger than before.

Durand Cup is a great platform for youngsters. Do you agree?

This is why the Durand Cup can be considered as a special platform for junior footballers. When we were in the Tata Football Academy we had chosen this tournament as the foundation of Indian football. Me, Deepak, Mahesh, Renedy we all came from this Durand and now the season is starting with this tournament. So junior footballers can prove themselves in Durand Cup and secure their place in ISL.
No doubt ,it’s great platform for young players.

Your good and bad Durand Cup memories?

Good memory is when I scored against Mohun Bagan in the year 1996 and it was in the Durand Cup Semifinal and the bad one is as a Team Manager when MSC lost in the Finals against FC Goa in the Salt Lake Stadium in the year 2021.

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

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

Any special message to the fans who will be following the tournament this season?

Durand Cup is going to be quite entertaining. Besides, being Durand of the four big football loving cities, I think the attendance will be quite large. I hope most of the matches will be in Kolkata , so I would like to appeal to the sports lovers of Bengal to come to the field and encourage the teams.

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?

Durand Cup is organised by Indian Army and as a citizen of India I feel Indian Army has a great contribution in Kargil war.This year we will celebrate 25 years of Kargil Vijay Diwas ,so definitely atmosphere will be much more electrifying with high on emotions and patriotic feelings. We footballers celebrate the Durand Cup as a “Festival” every year and we wait for this tournament to show our best.

He further added that they have already started preparation for Durand Cup under the supervision of Coach Andrey Chernyshov.

 

(Author is a Senior Journalist working for British Media with 20 years of experience in covering the east and northeast, with specialisation in Defence and Sports.In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International and National media awards for Journalism)

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