Pitching For a Perfect Run at the U17 World Cup

 In Game

The U-17 World Cup is around the corner and the intensity with which the Indian national team has been training has already reached fever pitch levels. The biggest footballing event to take place on Indian soil in recent times, this prestigious tournament is widely considered capable of triggering a football ‘revolution’ in the country. The officials are even touting it as a ‘game-changer’.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 a catalyst for change, and the tipping point for football in the country. This could stand true if a movement with enough momentum to engage the masses is designed around the game. The objective must be to provide every child in this country with an opportunity to play and help cultivate their love for the game.


In a run up to the upcoming U-17 World Cup, we took a closer look at the venues shortlisted by the AIFF and FIFA:


Salt Lake Stadium – Kolkata, West Bengal 

Capacity: 85,000

The Salt Lake Stadium is situated in Salt Lake City, Kolkata, and is also known as the ‘Yuva Bharati Krirangan’, translating loosely to ‘Indian Youth Recreation Center’.. Since its inception in 1984, the stadium has played host to India’s national football team and is a multi-purpose facility hosting several athletic and footballing events every year. The three-tiered terrace facility is also home-ground to four division 1 football teams.


Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – Kochi, Kerala

Capacity: 60,500

Also known as Kaloor International Stadium, this ground was built in 1996 and is among India’s largest, and most modern venues. Its unique shape is the outcome of triple-tiered stands (only lowest tier has seating, though), a sloping roof structure, and massive floodlight masts that pierce its roof. Although referred to as cricket stadium,the venue was originally designed as a football stadium. 1997 saw an international football tournament an attendance record being set during India’s clash with Iraq, when nearly 100,000 people were in attendance, massively exceeding capacity.


Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – New Delhi, Delhi

Capacity: 60,000

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is a versatile sports arena for a myriad sporting events, as well as large-scale entertainment events. It is named after the first Prime Minister of India, quite lie its Kochi counterpart.

The stadium was the main venue for the 2011 South Asian Football Federation Cup. On 10 January 2012, the Government of India, along with corporate sponso Audi, co-hosted a friendly football exhibition match between the Indian National Football Team and Bayern Munich at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. In this one-sided affair, the German club defeated Indian team by 4-0 in front of 30,000 spectators. This was also the farewell match for Baichung Bhutia as he stepped down from his position as the Indian National Football Team’s captain.

Since 2014 Indian Super League season, it has been home ground to the Delhi ISL franchise, Delhi Dynamos FC.

DY Patil Stadium – Mumbai, Maharashtra

Capacity: 55,000

Mumbai’s third, and newest, full-fledged stadium stands out for its design and its spectator-friendly seating arrangements. Its capacity makes it the second-largest cricket ground in India after the Eden Gardens. To make sure each spectator has a comfortable and clear viewing experience, the entire ground has bucket seats and cantilevered roofs that eliminate the need for columns.


Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium – Guwahati, Assam

Capacity: 30,000

The stadium is located in Lokhra, Guwahati and is a one-tier stadium with roofing only over the main stand. There is only a limited amount of seats in the main stand and the rest is just standing area.

The stadium pays tribute to the late Indira Gandhi who was the fourth Prime Minister of India. An international friendly between India and Malaysia was played at this stadium on 13 November 2011. On 12 March 2015 India played against Nepal for the 2018 World Cup qualifier. From 2014, it has been the home ground for NorthEast United FC in the newly formed Indian Super League and for which it underwent major renovations.


Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium – Margao, Goa

Capacity: 19,000

The Fatorda Stadium, officially known as the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium, is a multi-purpose stadium situated in Margao, Goa. The venue has been used to host both international football and cricket matches.

Goa’s only international stadium, Fatorda has a seating capacity of 19,000 people. The venue was established in 1989 and is owned and operated by the Sports Authority of Goa. It is the currently the home of FC Goa and the Churchill Brothers.

Indian football has gone through a fierce run in the last few months as the National team has gone up the Fifa rankings to the 137th place, while Bengaluru FC made history by becoming the first Indian football club to qualify for the AFC Cup finals. Indian Football is shining and our current form is an indication of how we could soon be considered to be legitimate contenders in the global football landscape.

India will host the U-17 World Cup 6th October, 2017 onwards.

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