Kalinga Stadium, named after Odisha’s ancient name Kalinga, is set to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup beginning Tuesday.
The inauguration will be marked by a colourful opening ceremony with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik doing the honours.
Kalinga Stadium, located in the centre of Bhubaneswar, will also host the Men’s Hockey World Cup consecutively for the second time beginning from January 13, 2023. The city has been refurbished with new pitches and state-of the art facilities.
On the facilities developed here, Naveen tweeted, “The magnificent Kalinga Stadium is all set to host the FIFA U-17 Womens World Cup. Appeal everyone to come in large number and witness the sporting extravaganza.”
Ahead of the tournament, Naveen on Monday launched “Football for All” an initiative under which over 43,000 footballs will be distributed in 2000 schools across Odisha to popularise the game.
The programme has been initiated by FIFA in partnership with KIIT and KIIS to promote the sport among children.
Naveen said: “We are quite focused on football development, especially women’s football. As a legacy of the World Cup, we will have good infrastructure and coaching programmes.”
Saying that it’s a proud moment for Odisha to be the host venue for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, Naveen said: “This world cup will give a major boost towards the development of football in the state.”
Director of ‘Football For Schools’, FIFA, Fatimata Sow Sidbe joining over virtual platform said, ‘“Football for All’ is a FIFA vision to make football truly global. The programme will provide life skill support to children.”
MP and founder of KIIT & KISS Dr Achyuta Samant said the KIIT and KISS have been the logistics hub for this programme.
The Kalinga Stadium
The inaugural function on Tuesday will be followed by two matches.
The stadium will host five Group A matches, in which four countries — India, the US, Morocco and Brazil — will face each other, and one Group B match between Nigeria and Chile.
Sixteen teams will participate in the tournament and 32 matches will be played across three venues — Bhubaneswar, Goa and Navi Mumbai. The final match will be played at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
In order to ensure that
the players get enough scope for practice before the match, besides the main pitch, practice grounds with natural grass have been prepared as per the standards of the world football governing body.
“We have also set up two world-class football training centres — Capital Football Arena and Odisha FootBall Academy on the premises,” said Odisha sports minister Tusharkanti Behera.
In order to maintain the international standards, the Odisha government has imported Bermuda grass and put it on the ground.
The lighting system has been upgraded. “As we have already hosted the Men’s Hockey World Cup, we are not facing much difficulties. We are aware of the international standards,” said Behera.
He added that though the seating capacity of 12,000 seats have not been increased, new colourful seats have been installed.
“The VIP boxes have been developed. We have developed all these things in the past two years at a cost of Rs 90 crore,” said an official.
The stadium set up during the Congress regime in 1978, has come a long way and is now being used for multi-purpose games like hockey, badminton, athletics and swimming.