It might be the oldest football tournament in India, but the best players in the country will not be in action at the 128th edition of the Durand Cup, to be played from August 28 to September 11 at the Ambedkar Stadium and Harbaksh Stadium in New Delhi.
Since the tournament — which was held in Goa last year — is being held just three weeks before the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), the players who will feature in ISL are likely to give it a miss.
Of the 12 teams that have confirmed participation, only Dempo SC and Sporting Clube de Goa are likely to showcase football that will excite the fans. However, the four teams from the armed forces are capable of giving the Goan clubs a run for their money.
The winner of this edition will be richer by Rs 45 lakh, while the runners-up will pocket Rs 20 lakh. A cash award of Rs 5 lakh each will also be given to semi-finalists.
The first edition of the historic tournament, organised by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, was held in Shimla in 1888. Since then it has been held under the aegis of the defence services.
Pool A: SC De Goa, DSK Shivajians, Minerva FC, Gangtok Himalayan, Indian Navy, Army Green
Pool B: Aizawl FC, Dempo SC, Neroca FC, Real Kashmir, Army Red, Indian Air Force.