India is universally recognized as a symbol of culture and diversity. The country has always welcomed people from all over the world to enjoy its sights and scenes. When it comes to sports, India has a wide range of experience. From hosting the Asian Games to the Commonwealth Games, this great country has done it all. For the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup, the match venue for each of the games has been selected to ensure the best setting for the tournament.
The matches will be played all over the country. This will ensure that a majority of each part of the country gets the chance to watch the young players and their talents. These stadiums have hosted glorious events in the past and will do the same with this prestigious tournament as well. India’s roots with football go way back to the early times of the country’s independence. After competing at the London Olympics in 1948, Team India was invited to the 1950 FIFA World cup.
However, the country’s best period in footballing terms was during the early 1950’s and 60’s. The Blue Tigers claimed the gold medals at the Asian Games in New Delhi in 1951 and in Jakarta in 1962 as well. It’s fair to say that it’s time for a revival of the successful times for the country. Now at 107th in the FIFA World rankings, the country’s football fanatics will be hoping this young group of players can be the foundation stones for something strong and dependent in the future.
Let’s take a look at the glorious stadiums that will dazzle the foreign players coming to India.
Match Venue No.1 – Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata
The Vivekanda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, otherwise popularly known as the Salt Lake Stadium will be hosting one semi-final and the glorious final itself. At a capacity of a reported 66, 687, it is surely going to be a packed stadium, full of excited fans and pundits.
This match venue has undergone substantial changes and looks hugely impressive now. “It is on a par with all football stadia that has hosted a World Cup final. In terms of looks, it gets a 10”, said Javier Ceppi, the tournament director and the head of the Local Organizing Committee. This Stadium has been the premier destination for the biggest football events in the country. The likes of Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Oliver Kahn have graced the turf of the Salt Lake stadium.
Match Venue No.2 – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi
This glorious stadium in Kochi has a particularly special reputation. Due to its architecture, the stadium has become popular as one of the noisiest stadiums in the world. Although it was initially built as a football stadium, cricket has been the pre-dominantly played sport in this special arena. However, the Indian Super League has ensured that the stadium is used for the fans to enjoy the beautiful game in all its glory.
During the ISL final of 2016, played between the Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium hosted the fifth loudest crowd. They made a noise of 128 db, which is quite frankly astonishing and wonderufl at the same time. Nonetheless, the visiting countries can be sure they won’t have it easy at this arena, when all of India’s fans are supporting them vociferously.
Match Venue No.3 – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Magnificent from the outside, isn’t it? New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is no stranger to hosting guests from around the world. It was here where the 2010 Commonwealth Games were hosted. At a capacity of around 60,000, no doubt this stadium will provide a great crowd to the youngsters who will be on the show to the audiences during games.
Additionally, the arena has also had its fair share of experience hosting football matches. The SAFF Championship was hosted in this very arena, along with the Nehru Cup as well. In terms of international football, Indian legend Bhaichung Bhutia’s testimonial was played here, where players from Bayern Munich played to honor the nation’s football gem.
Match Venue No.4 – DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai
One of Indian cricket’s premier destinations, the DY Patil Stadium is home to multiple clubs within the city of Mumbai. In terms of the Indian Premier League, the stadium is host to the Mumbai Indians. In the ISL, the Mumbai City FC have made it their proud home. Also, what’s even more interesting about the arena is that there is unblocked view of the pitch from everywhere.
The special Cantilevered Gull wing roof has ensured that the fans get the best experience when they watch matches in this stadium. The stadium’s lack of history with football will be made up by the fervent fans who flock down to the DY Patil, to back their players and support them. With a capacity of 51,000, the stadium will surely make a great match venue for the event.
Match Venue No.5- The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati
Situated in the beautiful state of Assam, the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium was ratified for the U-17 World Cup, after officials from FIFA were pleased with its structure and its lovely setting as well.
The Stadium is home to ISL club, NorthEast United FC, and has undergone major renovations in recent history. The north-east parts of the country have always been a budding ground for talented young kids and football lovers can always be found in this part of the country. Players visiting the stadium will not only enjoy their game but also the scenic beauties that the city of Guwahati has to offer, to them.
Match Venue No.6 – Fatorda Stadium, Goa
A stadium in the state that is always full of life, the Fatorda Stadium, otherwise officially known as the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is home to ISL club FC Goa and the Churchill Brothers as well.
With a capacity of just under 20,000 the stadium provides a small crowd. However, we all know that smaller crowds always make the louder noises when in full voice. The Stadium’s footballing connections are deep into the I-League clubs. There was a time in 2006, when the arena hosted four different clubs –Dempo S.C., Churchill Brothers S.C., Salgaocar S.C., and Sporting Clube De Goa. It is safe to say, that it will be a great host for the glorious U-17 World Cup.
All of the match venues look in great condition to host the U-17 World Cup. FIFA has ensured that the stadiums meet their standards of international football and there is no doubt that this World Cup will lead to bigger things for Indian Football, as well as international football.