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Naveen Uraon

A military procession cum carnival was organised in Miramar Circle, Dauna Paula Circle and near Goa Medical Collage announcing the Durand Cup schedule in Goa in the month of October and November this year.

The list of teams as also the tournament and event schedule of the much awaited 127th Edition of the prestigious Durand Cup Football Tournament were announced in Goa last week. A total of 12 teams will be participating in the tournament that is to be conducted on a league cum knock out basis. The teams will be divided into four pools and the top teams from each pool will qualify for the semi final stage. The teams include, from the I League, Dempo, Sporting Club de Goa, Salgaocar, Churchill Brothers (all from Goa), besides Bengaluru FC, Pune FC, Mohammaden Sporting and United Sports Club. The other teams would include two top teams that would qualify from the qualification stage as also teams of Indian Navy and Air India. The qualification stage of the tournament is scheduled to commence from 20 October and would terminate on the 27 October 2014. The qualification stage will be played out amongst 16 teams. These teams comprise a mix of various club teams that are pan Goa, pan India and teams from Indian Army & Indian Air Force. There is a very dominant and visible presence of teams from Goa both in the Quarter Final Stage as also the Qualification Stage, which in some way gives a local Goan flavour to the tournament.

As had been earlier stated by the Army authorities who are conducting the tournament, this edition of the Durand Cup is unique with its blend of cultural skills, martial arts and various Army Displays all of which have been packaged to be part of the Durand Carnival that will keep not just the football enthusiasts engrossed, but is certain to draw large crowds wherever these displays are shown. The multiple events that are planned to be displayed include parachute drops, aircraft fly-past, Army Symphony Band, Malkhamb, martial arts (Kalairipettu & Taekwando), multi member motorcycle ride, lazium besides Army weapon and equipment display. These events would be conducted on the beaches of Bagha, Calangute, Candolim, Miramar, Kolva and Benaluim as also on grounds at Madgaon, Panaji, Vasco and Goa Institute of Management.

Army authorities have emphasised that there are No Entry Fees for any of the matches and additional events and that All Are Invited. Further, Army authorities have also clarified that Raia Stadium has been consciously chosen by them as the venue since it is located in a relatively open area that would facilitate the flypast of aircrafts (which has been planned for the opening and final matches on 29th Oct and 8th Nov respectively). Besides, taking the tournament to Raia stadium ensures that a clash with the ISL (which has booked Nehru & Tilak Stadiums) is avoided. It also is in keeping with the spirit of the game, which is to bring the tournament to the common masses.

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