PANAJI: In what is set to be an explosive game, Sporting Clube de Goa will take on United Sports Club in the Durand Cup inaugural quarterfinal pool B match, at Raia Panchayat ground, on Wednesday.
Sporting’s new marquee signing Trinidad and Tobago utility player Anthony Wolfe is set to make his long awaited debut for the club.
Sporting’s Spanish Coach Oscar Bruzon is banking on good home support as his team is made up of many Goans from the locality. “Beevan D’Mello and Velito Cruz is from Raia, besides Rowllin Borges, Mauvin Borges and Cajetan Fernandes are from the neighbouring Salcete village of Nuvem, so we are drumming up good local support,” remarked Oscar.
Oscar is taking the tournament very seriously as he feels the Durand Cup has a prestigious history. “The Durand Cup is the oldest football tournament in Asia and third oldest in the world. We have heard of the tournament in Spain and it has a great history behind it,” enlightened Oscar. Interestingly, Oscar’s first I-League victory as Sporting coach came against United Sports Club in December 2012. Since then the two clubs have met three times in the I-League with Sporting winning once more and USC winning the other two encounters. All is set for another gripping match-up between the Goan and Kolkata outfit.
Meanwhile, the organisers have informed that the start of quarterfinal match on Wednesday is going to be marked with a grand opening ceremony, which will be witnessed by Lieutenant General Bobby Mathew, AVSM, VSM, the General Officer Commanding, 12 Corps of Indian Army as the chief guest. Other dignitaries include Major General R R Nimborkar, AVSM, SM*, VSM, the officiating General Officer Commanding, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Area and some senior officers of Armed forces and civil dignitaries.
Total 12 teams will be competing in the quarter final stage. Out of these 12 teams, seven are the I-League teams namely Bangalore FC, Sporting Clube De Goa, Salgaocar SC, Mohammedan Sporting, Churchill Brothers, United sports Club and Pune Football Club. Besides these Indian Navy team, the services champion, and Air India are seeded directly into quarter final stage. Remaining three like Tuff Laxmi Prasad SC, Vasco Sports Club and Sesa Football Academy are the qualifiers from the preliminary stage.
The kick off today’s match is 3 pm and entry to the venue is free.