"It is a very special tournament which Mohun Bagan have won 16 times. It is as important as the Calcutta Football League. We are ready to win tomorrow," Mohun Bagan's new coach Kibu Vicuna told the media on the eve of the match. The Spaniard will make his coaching debut with Mohun Bagan on Friday.
It was Mohun Bagan which became the first Indian civilian club to play in the Durand Cup, the third oldest football tournament in the country, way back in 1922.
Mohammedan Sporting were the first-ever civilian team to win the title in 1940.
"I know Mohammaden Sporting is a historic team, which is playing in the second division and have four African players. We are not taking them lightly. I know they have an experienced coach," he said.
"We have been training for the last one month. It's a new team with a lot of new players. This process takes time and in two months we will be better.
"We will try to play attacking and pro-active football. We will try to create chances and score as soon as possible," Vicuna said.
"In 2017 we won 1-0 against Mohun Bagan. Last season we were leading by a goal and then lost 1-2. There are no small or big teams on the pitch. The team which gives their best on the day will win. We are not thinking whether it's Mohun Bagan or East Bengal," Mohammedan Sporting captain Kamran Farooq said.
The competition, which is taking place after a three-year hiatus, will have sixteen teams five from Indian Super League, six from I-League and one from I-League second division vying for the top honours.
The Indian Army will have two teams Army Red and Army Green with the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy also taking part. The final will be played on August 24.
( With inputs from IANS )