Bengaluru, Aug 24 (IANS) I-League 2nd Division side FC Bengaluru United owner Gaurav Manchanda expressed his joy over the invitation to his team to participate in the 2021 Durand Cup, scheduled to be played in Kolkata from September 5 to October 3.
The tournament is set to make a comeback after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the 130th edition of the Durand Cup, Asia’s oldest football competition.
“It’s a great honour for FC Bengaluru United to be invited to participate in the Durand Cup and we couldn’t be more delighted,” said Gaurav. “The Durand Cup is a marquee event in the Indian footballing calendar, and we are proud to be part of it. It is also a testimony to the growing potential of FC Bengaluru United. We have been on the ascendancy over the last three years and being part of such a prestigious tournament can only help propel us forward on our growth journey.”
In just the third year since its inception, FC Bengaluru United will be making their debut appearance in the Durand Cup. The Bengaluru outfit has quickly risen among the ranks of Indian football to become one of the 16 teams invited to play in this most anticipated tournament in which FC Bengaluru United are in Group A along with tough opponents in Mohammedan Sporting Club, Central Reserve Police Force Football Club and Indian Air Force.
FC Bengaluru United head coach Richard Hood said, “It is a matter of immense prestige to be invited for the 130th edition of the Durand Cup and we are prepared to bring through strong performances to merit our inclusion.
“As professionals we constantly seek opportunities to compete at the highest levels possible and in the short history of our club this presents a big platform to everyone involved, especially the players out on the pitch to fulfil the ambitions of United.”
The I-League second Division side displayed stellar form in domestic competitions earlier this year, which saw them being crowned BDFA Super Division Champions. The club will be looking to carry this momentum forward into the Durand Cup, which will present an opportunity for them to make a significant impact on the national stage.
The 16 teams in the 2021 Durand Cup include five clubs from the ISL, six clubs from the Indian Armed Forces, three clubs from the I-League and two clubs from the I-League second Division.