The “Trophy Tour” of the 132nd edition of the Durand Cup, India’s oldest football tournament, was flagged off in Jaipur with great enthusiasm. Major General Rai Singh Godara, along with Air Vice Marshal Prashant Mohan VM and Colonel Navneet Singh Thiara, inaugurated the tour at the Rajasthan International Center Jaipur. The tournament, organized by the Durand Cup Football Tournament Society, will take place in Kolkata from August 3rd to September 3rd, 2023.
The event was graced by various dignitaries, including Major General Godara, who expressed his honor in receiving the prestigious Durand trophy. He highlighted the Indian Army’s support for the tournament and the participation of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, making it even more significant. Major General Godara also praised the emergence of football in Rajasthan, stating that the state would soon bring glory to the sport.
Dharmendra Rathore, Chairman of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), acknowledged the lower awareness of football compared to cricket in the state. However, he emphasized the government’s efforts to promote all sports, including football, by dedicating the Vidhyadhar Nagar stadium exclusively to the sport. Lal Chand Kataria, the Agriculture Minister, stated that events like the Durand Cup contribute to boosting the morale and raising awareness among the younger generation, who will find inspiration in such tournaments.
The Water Resources Minister, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, expressed his happiness at being part of the Trophy Tour ceremony and highlighted the tournament’s name and reputation in the country and abroad. He expressed hope for continued progress in the future. The founders and representatives of the Rajasthan United Football Club (RUFC), Dr. Ashutosh Pant, and Mr. Krishan Kumar Tak, also shared their views during the occasion.
The Durand Cup Trophy Tour aims to enhance awareness about sports, particularly football, and promote a sports culture in the country. The tour will cover various locations, including Delhi, Jaipur, Kochi, Kokrajhar, Guwahati, Shillong, Kolkata, Udhampur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, and Aizawl. The trophies, namely the President Cup, Durand Cup, and Shimla Cup, will be showcased at multiple venues, including Rajasthan International Center, SMS Stadium, Amar Jawan Jyoti, Vidhansabha, Ajmeri Gate, Ramniwas Garden, and Albert Hall in Jaipur.
The Durand Cup holds immense historical and national significance as Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament. Initially exclusive to the British Indian Army troops in India, it later opened up to civilian teams as well. The winning team of the Durand Cup not only receives the Durand Cup trophy but also the Shimla Trophy and the President’s Cup. These three trophies will travel across the country as part of the Trophy Tour, visiting major cities like Shimla, Udhampur, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Kokrajhar, Guwahati, and Shillong before reaching Kolkata, where the tournament will take place.