The list increases with every passing day and the FIFA delegation in India can only smile with the preparations done by the organisers of the 2017 U17 World Cup, to be held across the country, starting September next year. So far, five venues have been given the green signal to host the FIFA matches next year. Only one remains to be decided now.
The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, home of Indian Super League side NorthEast United FC, was officially named as one of the five venues for the U17 World Cup to be held next year. The JLN Stadiums in Delhi, Kochi, Goa as well as the DY Patil stadium in Mumbai have already been confirmed as the venues by the international football governing body.
The famed Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata is expected to get the official status now, latest by Wednesday. According to reports, the final of the FIFA U17 World Cup in India could also be held in the city of joy.
The Northeastern part of the country is steadily becoming a mecca of Indian football, a term generally associated with Kolkata. With the presence of football clubs like Shillong Lajong FC, NorthEast United FC, Royal Wahingdoh FC and a host of local sides from the Shillong, Manipur or Mizoram football leagues, the following for the sport in the region has seen a steady growth over the last few decades.
"From what I am being told, the enthusiasm for the sport here in this part of the country is unmatched," said Marion Mayer Vorfelder, event manager for the U-17 World Cup and a part of the 23-member FIFA delegation conducting the final inspection of venues for the tournament next year.
"Football is like a religion here and considering how passionate people are about the sport here, this ratification denotes a win not just for the state of the Assam but the entire North East."