After a weeklong frenzy at the City of Joy, Durga Puja is finally over and the people of Kolkata are now all set to embrace the FIFA U-17 World Cup fever which kicks-off from October 6th.
India are hosting this tournament for the very first time in the history and Kolkata, ‘The Mecca of Indian Football’ as it is popularly known, will be hosting the grand World Cup final. Almost 90 percent of the tickets are sold out at the newly refurbished Salt Lake Stadium which clearly reflects the enthusiasm among Kolkatans.
The Durga Puja hangover generally remains in the city for at least a week after the conclusion of the grand festival, but this year the scenario will be a little different as the enthusiastic Bengalis have football to cheer for and at the grandest arena.
The West Bengal government has put in a lot of effort to make this event a grand success. They have renovated the stadium spending nearly a hundred crores and gave it a world class makeover.
Not only the stadium, the government has made sure that the tournament gets utmost popularity so that the fans come in numbers to make it a grand success.
This year’s Durga Puja witnessed an extensive publicity of the U-17 World Cup as almost every Pandal in the city had banners of the tournament.
You can see some photographs below:
It's time for double celebration in Kolkata, Durgapuja & World Cup at the same time. Many pandals are decorated with football theme @fni pic.twitter.com/VgEOx1Zpz2 — Nilay Hazra (@nilayhazra) September 27, 2017
Fans of all age-groups are elated about the grand tournament which kick-starts its campaign within a few days. Goal spoke to many fans in the city and this is what they had to say.
“We are excited about the U-17 World Cup where we will get to see some of the brightest prospects in world football. This is a lifetime experience for us fans who have never witnessed a world cup live. We are looking forward to the tournament,” a group of young fans opined about the World Cup.
“I have seen several world cup heroes playing in Kolkata including the great Pele, but watching the tournament live is something I will cherish for the rest of my life," AS Chakraborty, who has followed football for a very long time, said.
Kolkata will play host to Group F matches of the World Cup which has teams like England, Mexico, Chile and Iraq. The first match in Kolkata will be played on 8th October between Chile and England.