The 130th edition of the Durand Cup will kick off a new season of Indian football from September 5. This year, the Durand Cup will see five Super League (ISL) franchises and three I-League teams among the 16 in the fray.
The ISL franchises are FC Goa, Bengaluru FC, Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur FC, and Hyderabad FC.
Challenging them would be the century-old Mohammedan Sporting of Kolkata, who were the first Indian winners of the Cup in 1940. The club will be leading a troika of I-League challengers including defending champions Gokulam Kerala and Sudeva FC of Delhi.
FC Bengaluru United and Delhi FC will represent the second division of Indian football whereas two Indian Army teams (Red and Green), a team from the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, CRPF, and the Assam Rifles round off the 16.
Durand Cup moves to Kolkata from Delhi
The Durand Cup was traditionally played in Delhi until 2018 and from the 2019 edition, the tournament has moved to the Mecca of Indian football – Kolkata.
Three leading footballing venues in West Bengal will be hosting the Durand Cup - namely the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) and the Mohun Bagan Club Ground in Kolkata. The Kalyani Municipal Stadium Ground, which has been regularly hosting national level football matches over the past few years, will be the third venue.
There is a sense of uniqueness in the Durand Cup. The winners are awarded three trophies with two rolling ones (the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy) and the President’s Cup for permanent keeping.
Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been the most successful teams, having won the tournament 16 times each.