All You want to know about the majestic Durand Cup (India’s oldest football tournament) in detail

Right now there are dark clouds clearly visible in the ecosystem of Indian football and there are several reasons responsible for this abrupt downfall which include a lack of domestic matches, grassroots level scouting programs, and failure to bring absolute changes in the administrative side which is crippling Indian football to the core.

Areas where Indian football ecosystem needs to improve?

Here in this article, we will be talking about the time when India was an absolute superpower in the field of football to depict the exact context of those times we need to start from scratch.

Durand Cup played a very important role in elevating the competition level of Indian Football as it started in the year 1888 and it is the third-oldest tournament in the world after English FA Cup and Scottish Cup started in the year 1872 and 1878 respectively.

Sir Mortimer Durand instituted the start of this tournament and in the initial edition six British regimental teams and two Scottish regiments took part.

Very few people know this fact that pre-independence the tournament was held in Shimla which was then the summer capital of British Raj and winners used to receive winning trophies from the Viceroys of India.

There was a time when the organizers of this prestigious award made a conscious effort to galvanize the marquee event by inviting students from different schools of Shimla to witness live matches at nominal rates.

In addition three trophies- The Durand Cup, The Shimla Trophy and Viceroy’s Cup(now known as President’s cup) were prominently displayed at Whiteways and Ridley which is a prominent shopping centre on the Mall Road.

Lot of players were attracted by watching that trophy as the tournament was initially played by the army but with time civilians started taking part in the competition. The first Indian club who participated in the Durand Cup were Mohun Bagan who participated in the year 1922.

Indian teams in the initial seasons used to lose against British regimental side as they lacked superior speed, strength and fitness but 1937, the authorities came up with a unique idea to host separate tournaments which will be played simultaneously with Durand Cup and the name of that cup where separate tournament will be played known as “Little Durand” or “Chota Durand” .

The first Indian team which break the jinx to win Durand Cup was Mohammedan Sporting team who defeated Royal Warwickshire Regiment by 2-1 in the 1940 final.

This win by an Indian football club was one of the landmark moment in sporting ecosystem of our country.

The Durand is the only tournament in which the winners of the event wins three trophies- Durand Cup, Viceroy’s cup(now known as President’s cup and Shimla Trophy(1904 onwards).

The first Durand Cup Trophy was made of silver football which was made of ebony stand and later in 1896 another version of cup was launched and it continued for next sixty five years but a rolling trophy was introduced in the year 1965.

Before Independence Viceroys used to handover the trophy but post-independence till 1982 different presidents of India used to present the trophy till 1982 but later it was not continued due to security reasons. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have won maximum number of Durand Cup titles till date.

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