Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Tuesday reviewed the arrangements being put up at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium to host the 131st edition of Asia's oldest football tournament, the Durand Cup, 2022.
The chief minister also took stock of the arrangements for the visit of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande. The two dignitaries will be visiting the state to witness the Durand Cup inaugural match at Khuman Lampak Stadium, Imphal on August 18.
"Inspected the ongoing preparation for the eagerly awaited #DurandCup2022 at Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. Also checked the arrangements for the visit of Hon'ble @rajnathsingh ji and Army Chief General Manoj Pande ji who will grace the opening ceremony of the Durand Cup," CM Biren tweeted.
While the tournament officially began on Tuesday in Kolkata, it will kick off in Imphal from August 18 with a match between homegrown NEROCA FC and TRAU FC.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of his inspection visit, CM Biren expressed satisfaction over the preparations and appreciated the efforts of the sports minister, officials of sports department and the army personnel as well.
He said that the technical team of the Sports Department, with the support of army personnel, had developed the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium within a short period of time.
The chief minister also announced that the government is planning to develop six more such football grounds before the next edition of the Durand Cup.
CM Being a first-time host, he said that Manipuri people, who are very passionate about football and other sports, must welcome the initiative of the Indian Armed Forces.
He went on to express pride that Manipur, despite its small population, had sent seven athletes in the Commonwealth Games, 2022 and bagged as many as five medals.
CM Biren was accompanied by Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Major General Navin Sachdeva, Principal Secretary (YAS) SS Chhabra, Secretary (YAS) Namoijam Kheda Varta Singh, Director (YAS) T Phulen Meitei and officials of YAS Department among others, the chief minister office said in a Facebook post.
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Manipur is hosting Group - C matches of the Durand Cup, 2022 to be held in Imphal on August 18. Asia’s oldest football tournament is being held in three different states - West Bengal, Assam and Manipur.
The 131st edition of Durand Cup will be played at five venues of Khuman Lampak Stadium (Imphal), Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium (Guwahati), Naihati Stadium (Naihati), Kishore Bharati Krirangan and Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Kolkata).
Chennaiyin FC, Hyderabad FC, NEROCA FC, TRAU FC and Army Red FT are in the Group - C of the tournament and the Manipur chapter of the tournament will kick off with the much awaited Manipur derby between NEROCA FC and TRAU FC at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium at 6 pm on August 18. A total of 10 league matches will be played in Imphal.
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Altogether 20 teams, including defending champions FC Goa and runners up from last year, Mohammedan Sporting, 11 teams from the Indian Super League, four Services team, NEROA FC, TRAU FC, SUDEVA FC of Delhi and Rajasthan United FC will play in this edition of the Cup.
Ticket sales in Imphal had begun from August 13 at Khuman Lampak Stadium, Gate - 1 and Gate - 2 Box Offices with tentative timing - 8.30 am - 4pm, at the rates of Rs 50, 100 and 300.