Poor Attendance Marks Opening Day Of FIFA Under-17 World Cup

FIFA are concerned with the attendance figures at the start of the Under-17 World Cup...

Spectators stayed away from the opening day of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which kicked off in Nigeria on Saturday.

At the opening Group A match between Argentina and Honduras at the 60,000-capacity Abuja National Stadium, less than 5,000 fans turned up, while there was a slightly bigger crowd at the 15,000-capacity Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, where Switzerland took on Mexico.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony earlier on Saturday, FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, urged fans to turn up at the various stadiums so as to make the championship a lot more interesting.

FIFA officials had already expressed concerns over the poor publicity for the championship in the West African nation, while local fans were unhappy with the high cost of the match tickets, where the cheapest ticket was 3,000 naira (about $20).

A heavy downpour in Abuja also flooded the pitch in the match between Argentina and Honduras and was almost unplayable towards the end.

Argentina beat a hard-fighting Honduras 1-0 courtesy of a 58th minute goal by Sergio Araujo in a clash the South Americans dominated from start to finish.

In Lagos, Switzerland defeated 2005 champions Mexico 2-0 in a Group B match with first half goals from Pajtim Kasami and an own goal by Mexico goalkeeper Jose Rodriguez.

Samm Audu, Goal.com