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Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Durand cup is one of the famous competitions in India, that previously used to be organized only by the army. If we date back, the Durand cup started in 1888 and was named after founder Sir Mortimer Durand, the then foreign secretary of British India.

The tournament was mainly started for army regiments of British India and after Independence, I-league clubs also started to participate in it. But over time the tournament lost its importance in Indian football and the recent past became only an invitational tournament. Durand cup is the oldest football tournament in Asia and so AIFF along with the Durand football society decided to revive the tournament and integrate it with the mainstream Indian football calendar.

AIFF was also pursuing a lengthier football calendar for the development of Indian football and hence Durand cup served the purpose.

In 2022, in the 131st Durand Cup edition 20 teams participated. 11 ISL teams, 5 I-league teams, and 4 teams from Army.

Summary of Durand Cup 2022:-

As AIFF took the initiative to host the tournament, this season’s Durand Cup 2022 saw lots of improvements, from broadcasting quality to commentary level and of course the exciting football presented by all the teams. The group stage was exciting and saw many upsets such as Rajasthan United beating giants of Indian football ATK Mohunbagan that too through a last-minute goal from a 17-year-old lad, Gyamar Nikum. Finally, the group stage ended with ATK Mohunbagn and East Bengal being eliminated.

The knockout stages had their aura of excitement and the quality of football took one step further with all the teams giving their everything to prove a point. No one expected any I=league club to pass any further than the group stage but to everyone’s surprise, Rajasthan United qualified for the Quarterfinals from the group of Death eliminating giants like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

Another I-league team Mohammadan SC qualified as one of the favorites to win the tournament. The other 6 teams in the Quarterfinal were Mumbai, Bengaluru, Odhisa and Kerala Blasters, Chennaiyin FC, and Hyderabad FC. Where Rajasthan United had to end their dream run in the Quarterfinals after losing to Hyderabad Fc, Mohammedan continued their dominant performance by beating the Kerala youth team 3-0 and reached Quarter Finals. Mumbai Defeated Chennaiyin 5-3 and Odhisha lost to Bengaluru 1-2.

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In the semis, Mumbai and Mohammedan fought tooth and nail, where Mumbai reached the final by scoring a 90+1 minute goal. Bengaluru defeated favourites Hyderabad in the other semi-final game to reach the final.

In the final Indian Young striker, Shivashakti opened the scoring, just another Indian youth Apuia who has been the talk of Indian football for the last 2 seasons levelled the score from a freekick. In the 2nd half Bengaluru's tall defender, Alan Costa headed home a beautiful corner from Sunil Chettri to give Bengaluru the lead by 2-1.

Mumbai tried their best but couldn’t break through the resilient Bengaluru defence. The match ended with the same scoreline and Bengaluru FC became the champion of the 131st edition of the Durand cup.

Points to be noted from Durand Cup:-

  • L. Changte, the 25-year-old Indian right winger scored the highest no.of goals in the tournament despite the presence of big foreign names such as Greg Stewart, B. Ogbeche. He won the golden boot of the tournament.

  • The season for Indian players started early compared to previous seasons.

  • Many youth prospects such as Sivashakti, Gyamar Nikum got to show their talents in front of a large audience which probably hasn’t happened in Indian football before. Youth players not only got the opportunity but also attracted the attention of head coaches and scouts.

  • There was a concern in Indian football that who would replace Chettri as an Instinctive center-forward, but after this tournament, India may have one in the form of Sivashakti Narayanan. Though he is still young and has time to get a place in the National team for sure Igor Stimac the Indian head coach would surely be keeping a close eye on him.

  • Everything mentioned above will probably do good for the Indian National team for upcoming friendlies against Singapore and Vietnam this month 24th and 27th also would help India to put on a good display in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

My thoughts:-

Hope this season’s Durand Cup would set the base for a more engaging ISL and inspire the stakeholders to organize the tournament next season in a better fashion with more engagement of fans and more investment into football.



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