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FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Navi Mumbai comes through with flying colours

11:33 WAT 25/03/2017
Javier Ceppi Kushal Das FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017
The FIFA Inspection committee was deeply satisfied with the work at Navi Mumbai after slamming the preparations at Kochi the other day...

There is only months remaining for India before it hosts its inaugural international football tournament in the guise of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. 

The international governing body (FIFA), meanwhile, has tasked a team of 21 members with scanning the six accredited venues with the team visiting Navi Mumbai on Saturday.

FIFA Head of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza, was effusive in his praise of the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai after completing an inspection. 

When asked about the state of preparation, Yarza reckoned that only minor work remained and all the important issues were sorted out.

"I said last year I was very happy with the stadium. I haven't changed my mind. It's a fantastic stadium. Most of the work that we have asked is completed. The rest is of temporary nature so we have no worries. The new dressing rooms are of a very high quality so we are very happy. The pitch will be prepared now that the cricket season is over," he said.

He added,"This will be one of the best, if not the best stadium in the country for hosting the World Cup matches."

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Tournament Director Javier Ceppi chimed in saying that the DY Patil Stadium would serve as the benchmark for all the stadiums across the country.

"This is the best stadium in the country at the present moment. We need to make sure if every other stadium is as good as this stadium. This is the standard. Even after having this standard, they still want to do better. That is commendable," he asserted.

He said that the work on the training facilities too were in full swing and they were confident of its completion well within time. 

"The two grounds in the stadium premises are fantastic. They are here, so that is an ideal scenario with floodlights all ready. The other two are away from the stadium and there is work going on for the other two but we are confident of finishing it well on time," he stressed. 

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Yarza also emphasised the need to involve young girls even though it was a boys tournament, pointing out that it was one of FIFA's goals. 

"Even though this is a boys tournament, I want girls to come out in large numbers, to see what football can do to their lives. We also want families to come to the tournament. And we will be doing everything to make this possible," he noted. 

With the DY Patil set to host a Justin Bieber concert in May, Yarza did not see it as a negative and hailed it as an important test run. 

"One of the things we like to do in World Cup venues is to have test events. We will have 50,000 people there but the planning of laying grass is only after that. So it is a good opportunity. Timing wise it's a good thing to see how facilities work," he stated. 

"If this was one month before the tournament, then that would be a problem," he added. 

After the team lambasted the preparations at Kochi on Friday, this will be a shot in the arm for the U-17 World Cup preparations in the country. 

Guwahati and Kolkata are the two remaining venues awaiting inspection.