New-look Salt Lake stadium gets training pitch inside complex

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) The Salt Lake Stadium was unrecognisable both from outside and inside when FIFA U-17 tournament director for the Local organising Committee (LoC) Javier Ceppi and Subrata Dutta came to visit here on Thursday.

The front entrance of the colossal amphitheatre which has hosted many riveting football ties in the past — most notably Lionel Messi’s first match as Argentina captain against Venezuela in 2011 — was getting ready for a new look and so was the entire premises inside.

The conference rooms as well as dressing rooms looked well lit and much more polished in decor from what it was even in November, the last time a FIFA team had come over for an inspection.

The pitch looked ready for action, wearing a fresh lush green look bathing in the sun.

“The entire stadium now looks like a modern venue of international standard in the making,” Dutta, who is part of the LoC team apart from his role as All India Football Federation (AIFF) senior vice-president, told IANS on the sidelines of the visit. Dutta is also President of the Indian Football Association (IFA), the state body of football overlooking renovation work here.

“Some of the work like painting and other decorative stuff will be left for a later date as they can be done with time,” Ceppi said.

“But the core infrastructure work should be done before end of March when FIFA comes to visit.”

Ceppi also lauded the IFA and the state government for their efforts in revamping such a huge area which he said is “never easy as it’s humongous.”

Besides Kolkata, which is likely to host the final, New Delhi, Guwahati, Margao, Kochi and Navi Mumbai are the other six venues.

–IANS

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