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AIFF boost to stadium

Siliguri, Sept. 19: The All India Football Federation plans to open training and coaching centres for coaches and players of different age groups in Kanchenjungha stadium here after witnessing the improvement of the infrastructure at the stadium.

Subrata Dutta, the AIFF vice-president, who was here earlier this month to check out the infrastructure ahead of the Federation Cup, expressed satisfaction over the improvement of the stadium.

“We are happy to see the thorough change that the stadium has undergone in the past few months. From our side, a check list was handed over to the Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad (SMKP) and the stadium committee when the proposal of holding the Federation Cup matches had come to us a few months back,” said Dutta.

“As we visited the stadium and the practice fields to be used by teams during the football tourney, we were pleasantly surprised to see the overhauling done in such a short time, ” he said.

“The AIFF intends to hold national and international matches at the stadium and develop Siliguri as a key destination for sports tourism. This would provide an opportunity to football lovers, local talents as well as help the city and its citizens,” the AIFF vice-president said.

“Further, our plan is to set up centres for providing training to people who are in the football administration of India and also train football coaches. As a part of the initiative camps for footballers of different age groups would be set up where local boy and girls can get a chance to prove their mettle,” he added.

For opening such centres, Dutta said, the AIFF will sign an agreement with SMKP.

“We need classrooms, practice fields and proper accommodation for those who would be attending an array of courses which we plan to teach here,” he said.

Gautam Deb, the minister for north Bengal development, while speaking on sports infrastructure, spoke in detail about the renovation of the stadium and the ongoing work to improve the Sports Complex in Jalpaiguri and the indoor stadium in Alipurduar.

“It is a matter of pride for all of us to host the Federation Cup, which would be a top level tournament to be held in Siliguri after a gap of 25 years,” he said.

In 1988, the Nehru Cup was held at the stadium, which was the last major football event witnessed by the town.

Representatives of SMKP, accompanying Dutta and Deb, said 14 matches, including a semi-final and the final, would be held in the stadium.

The tournament begins tomorrow.

“The final match would be played on September 30. We are yet to finalise the fixture but have thought of putting the Mohun Bagan-East Bengal matches in the evening hours, that is, from 7pm,” they said.

Tickets, the organisers said, would be available at Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 50 while for students, there are discounted tickets for Rs 10.

“Season tickets, priced at Rs 300, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would be also sold. All the tickets would be available at the stadium counter,” they said.

Matches would be held in two sessions, at 2.30pm and 7pm.