Hyderabad FC players celebrate a goal during the 7th season of the Hero Indian Super League between Hyderabad FC and ATK Mohun Bagan held at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Monday, February 22, 2021. (PTI Photo)
Kolkata: Five Indian Super League franchises and three I-League teams will be among 16 sides vying for top honours in the Durand Cup football tournament, to be played across Kolkata from September 5 to October 3.
The tournament, now in its 130th edition, was first held in the mecca of Indian football back in 2019, after moving from its longtime venue at Delhi.
Traditionally organized by the Indian Army, the world's third oldest and Asia's oldest football tournament will this year also see the government of West Bengal as joint hosts, who have been providing support in all aspects of the organisation.
ISL franchises FC Goa, Bengaluru FC, Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC will also compete for the prestigious trophy.
Challenging them would be the century-old Mohammedan Sporting of Kolkata, who were the first Indian winners of the Cup in 1940 and who would be leading a troika of I-League clubs including defending champions Gokulam Kerala and Sudeva FC of Delhi.
FC Bengaluru United and Delhi FC will represent the second division of the Indian football while two Indian Army teams (Red and Green), a team from Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, CRPF, and the Assam Rifles round off the 16.
Three leading footballing venues of the state have been identified for the tournament -- Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, Mohun Bagan Club Ground in Kolkata as well as the Kalyani Municipal Stadium -- which has been regularly hosting national level football matches over the past few years.