FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup: Odisha stadium spruced up with state-of-the-art amenities

Refurbished seats, new pitches and state-of-the-art facilities — the stage is set for Fifa U-17 Women's World Cup at Kalinga Stadium.

Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Refurbished seats, new pitches and state-of-the-art facilities — the stage is set for Fifa U-17 Women's World Cup at Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar.

The stadium will host five Group A matches, in which four countries — India, the US, Morocco and Brazil — will be facing each other, and one Group B match between Nigeria and Chile.

The event will kick off at the venue from October 11, 2022 with an opening ceremony and two matches.

Odisha Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna said the administration took up many projects to upgrade and renovate the stadium, including the entire stand, for the tournament, which will go on till October 30.

It is yet another feather in the cap for Odisha and also the Kalinga complex, which will also be one of the two venues in the state where Men's FIH Hockey World Cup will be held next year.

"A main pitch and four practice grounds with natural grass have been set up as per the standards of the world football governing body FIFA," Krishna told PTI.

Two world-class football training centres — Odisha Football Academy and the Capital Football Arena — have also been constructed at the venue.

Krishna said the seats at the stadium have been replaced with new chairs, but the seating capacity is the same as earlier — around 12,000.

The lighting system has been fully done anew. The Bermuda grass of the field has been imported, according to the sports secretary.

"New functional areas have been created. VIP boxes and dugouts have also been upgraded. A lot of the renovation has been done in phases over the last two-three years," he said, estimating that the overall cost could be around Rs 90 crore.

Six gates are expected to be used for different categories of spectators. The beautification, wall painting and cleaning of the surroundings were also taken up as part of the refurbishment project, Krishna added.

The multipurpose venue, built in 1978, has facilities for athletics, football, hockey, basketball, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, climbing and swimming. The stadium has hosted several tournaments and is also the home venue for Odisha FC of Indian Super League.

The Fifa tournament was supposed to be held in India in 2020, but got postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hosting rights for the 2022 edition were retained by the country on the basis of a decision of the global federation.

Sixteen teams will fight for the top honours and 32 matches will be played across three venues — Bhubaneswar, Navi Mumbai and Goa. The final will be played at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

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Indian Womens team in practice. (Image-PTI)

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, "mesmerized" by the facilities at the stadium, had on Friday expressed hope that the teams will be able to prepare well for the matches.

"Mesmerised seeing the beautiful Capital Football Arena in Bhubaneswar where our football stars will practice during the FIFA U-17 Womens World Cup. I am sure the world class facilities at the training centre will help the players prepare well for the mega event," Patnaik tweeted.

"Training sites at the Odisha Football Academy in Bhubaneswar are ready for (the) FIFA U-17 Womens World Cup. I am sure the participating teams will love the world-class amenities here. Wish the teams all the best," he added.

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