| Anil Kamat (second from right) and Ankur Dutta (right) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium ground in Guwahati on Wednesday. Telegraph picture |
Guwahati, Oct. 31: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) today suggested that the Assam Football Association (AFA) move Dispur for proper maintenance of Sarusajai sports complex in view of Guwahati being shortlisted as one of the venues for Fifa under-17 World Cup football tournament in 2017.
Inspecting the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in the same complex for the India-Yemen match to be played on November 14, AIFF assistant general secretary and director competitions Anil Kamat today said football has a fan following in Guwahati but lamented that there was lack of government support for the sport. “The infrastructure has remained the same since we hosted the international friendly last year. I would like to suggest the AFA to request the government to maintain the stadium properly in view of India’s under-17 World Cup bid because Guwahati is being shortlisted, along with five other cities, as a venue,” Kamat said.
AFA secretary and AIFF vice-president Ankur Dutta, who was accompanying Kamat, chipped in to state that the AFA had already urged chief minister Tarun Gogoi in this regard. Gogoi had “directed the sports department in front of us to outsource the maintenance work but the department is yet to execute it for over a year.”
The Indian team will land here on November 11 and will be accommodated at Hotel Gateway Grandeur while Yemen will arrive the next day and will be put up at Hotel Nakshatra.
Kamat hoped the turnout for the November 14 match where India, ranked 168th, will be playing Yemen, ranked 157th, will be better than the last match between India and Malaysia “because this is a Fifa date match where both the teams will be full strength”.
The date, however, clashed with Diwali celebrations and the match will kick off at 5.30pm under floodlights. He confirmed that star Indian players like Sunil Chhetry would be in the team “except for few who have been recuperating from injuries sustained in the ongoing I-League and other tournaments”.