Lack of proper arrangements at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during India's opening match against USA at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup meant more than 20,000 school kids, who had come to watch the encounter, had a trying evening on Friday, October 6.
The Indian government made sure the JLN Stadium was packed to the rafters on Friday as they awarded close to 27,000 free tickets to school kids in the National Capital Region. As expected, Amarjit Singh Kiyam's boys, who made history by becoming India's first representatives at the final round of a World Cup, had the backing of a huge home crowd.
However, after shouting their hearts out during India's impressive show in the first half of 3-0 defeat, the schoolchildren had no access to drinking water at the iconic venue in the capital city.
As fans were not allowed to bring water bottles inside the stadium, the food counters at JLN wore the look of a battlefield during the break as the students were reportedly battling to gain access to drinking water.
Some even went to the extent of drinking water from the toilets to quench their thirst, according to a report in "Hindustan Times". A few were forced to drink left-over water in 20-litre water cans, which were lying near trash cans. Food packets for the visitors also arrived late due to delay in security clearance.
Notably, the kids had braved the afternoon heat in New Delhi as they were part of long queues outside the JLN stadium ahead of the opening day fixtures of the high-profile tournament.
While the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has left no stone unturned in preparing the India colts for the landmark event, the governing body's lack of attention to stadium amenities comes as a huge disappointment.
Earlier in the day, a senior journalist took to Twitter to highlight the woeful condition of seats at the JLN stadium, which will also host the remaining group stage matches of the India U-17 football team.