The Durand Cup 2022 that reaches its conclusion with the final between Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC on Sunday saw football of much higher quality thanks to the participation of all eleven Hero Indian Super League (ISL) teams, according to Lt. Gen. KK Repswal, SM CSM, chief of staff Eastern Command and chairman of the Durand Cup 2022 organising committee.

For the first time in history, all eleven teams from the Hero ISL took part in the Durand Cup which was a 20-team affair with sides from Hero I-League and Armed Forces teams also taking part.

“All 11 teams, except for I think one or two teams probably, had a mix of experience and youth. All these teams just before the ISL season started, were fortunate to get some good practice matches. Otherwise, some of these clubs need to travel abroad to give actual practice matches to the teams,” Repswal told News18 in an interview.

“So it’s a good opportunity for them also to get some really good matches before they start with ISL and definitely to help us improve the quality of football. The spectators get some very good matches and it draws more crowd,” he added.

Two Hero ISL teams Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC will contest the final on Sunday as we are set to get a first-time winner of this prestigious trophy.

Both the Blues and the Islanders have had to overcome stiff challenges to reach the final with Bengaluru FC edging past Hero ISL champions Hyderabad FC while Mumbai City FC beating hosts Mohammedan SC who had been brilliant in the tournament so far.

With the quality of footballers on show, the spectators at the Salt Lake stadium are expected to be treated to a classic.

“Both (teams) are extremely competitive teams. I would like to appeal to all the fans, especially in Kolkata that they should not miss two ISL teams playing in the final. Durand Cup came to Kolkata because we felt the city is the ‘Mecca of football’ in India, so the fans must prove that irrespective that none of the local teams not being successful in reaching the final,” Repswal said.

Mumbai City FC will face Bengaluru FC in the final on Sunday at 6 PM IST and the match will be telecast LIVE on Sports18, Sports18 HD and Sports18 Khel. The final will be streamed LIVE on Voot Select and Jio TV.