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U17 World Cup 2017 - Kochi geared up for its biggest football extravaganza

01:01 GMT+4 05/10/2017
Kochi WC promotion
The most happening place in 'God's own country' has opened its doors to FIFA's U-17 football carnival...

GOAL U17 WORLD CUP SPECIAL | BY NISANTH V EASWAR    Follow @Niktheblue94 on Twitter


The FIFA U-17 World Cup in India is all set for kick-off on October 6. A day later is when the carnival will begin at the Kaloor Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium in Kochi. For a stadium that packs one of the most football-crazy crowds in the country. to say that Kochi has welcomed the opportunity to hosts teams from around the globe would be an understatement. The excitement levels have soared through the roof.

The grand entry of Indian Super League (ISL) into the state that is already filled with passionate football fans has only helped in promoting the FIFA mega-event across all regions in Kerala. Kerala's ISL representative, Kerala Blasters have a huge fan following and they have taken matters into their own hands as far as promotions for the World Cup are concerned.

For a start, the popular Kerala Blasters fan group named 'Manjappada' initiated flash mobs with banners across different parts of the state. Wearing yellow jerseys that represented their club colours, the fans were at their energetic best at local towns and in cities.

Arjun Ajayan, a football-crazy 23-year-old who lives a few kilometres away from the stadium in Kochi, believes that the U-17 World Cup could prove to be a stepping stone for the country and he, like the rest of Kochi, is excited about the massive event. "To be able to witness international teams like Brazil and Spain in Kochi is a dream come true. I grew up watching Brazil and we know how Ronaldinho and Toni Kroos came through the U17 ranks. This is the proudest moment for people in Kochi," he remarked.

Palakkad, Thrissur, Kasargod and Malappuram witnessed the Yellow Brigade in full flow as they danced with joy in public, in an attempt to reach out to people and get them to the stadium for the big event.

There were bike rallies in Kottayam and Ernakulam districts. In Delhi, where India U-17 will play their group games, these set of fans successfully organized a promotional campaign that encouraged people to book tickets and fill the stadium to offer support for the host nation.

The district of Malappuram is especially known for its love for football and there will be a huge number of Brazil supporters coming all the way to Kochi when Brazil take the field. They have set up special buses covered with posters of the Brazil team despite the absence of star player Vinicius Junior.

Malappuram is more than 160 kilometres away from Kochi but that has never been a concern for the fans. Vishnu Bose, a football-loving engineer from Malappuram, feels that the chance to watch a FIFA event at the stadium is an opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands."I have never watched a World Cup match from a stadium. Although it is the U-17 players that are taking the field, they are the stars of tomorrow. I can't wait to watch some of the academy graduates from the club I support in Europe."

The temptation to go to the Kaloor JLN stadium to watch Brazil, Spain, DPR Korea, Niger, Guinea and Germany is inexplicably irresistible to the people of Kerala. On October 7, when Brazil meet Spain at the Kochi stadium, the city will come to a standstill and all eyes will between the two goal posts for ninety invaluable minutes.