Chennaiyin FC skipper Anirudh Thapa believes the upcoming edition of Durand Cup will be essential in terms of preparation for the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season.

Durand Cup which is the third-oldest football tournament in the world will see all the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) sides participate in it for the first time ever along with five I-League clubs and four Armed Forces teams, to be played across three cities of Kolkata, Imphal, and Guwahati, August 16 onwards.

"Durand Cup is different, ISL is different. We know the value of ISL. We will know what (style) we will be playing, what teams we will be playing. And that's the Durand Cup for us. Obviously, it is important. It's not that we are just playing for fun. But more of it is to get to know each other, and what all we need to do to perform in the ISL," Thapa said to the Bridge.

Under the guidance of new head coach Thomas Brdaric, the two-time Hero ISL champions who have made a host of new signings will get a clear picture as to where they stand ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. After having an underwhelming Hero ISL 2021-22 season, finishing in the eight position with 20 points, the German head coach will be keen on making his side habituated to his philosophy and playing style of football.  

"For us, it (Durand Cup) is important. We have a new team. The foreigners are new. So, we need that game time to get used to the style the coach wants from us. Rafa (Rafael Crivellaro), who was out (injured), also needs that game-time. I think these matches are important to get along with each other," stated Thapa.

The Marina Machans will kickstart their Durand Cup campaign on August 20, in their first fixture against Indian Armed Forces side Army Red FT followed by games against Hero ISL 2021-22 champions Hyderabad FC, I-League sides Trau FC and Neroca FC.