FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Stadiums - Gear up India, It's Time to Football!

Being a football maniac in a country that worships cricket can be a bit frustrating, can’t it? I am sure, all you football fans out there must have dreamt of attending FIFA tournaments and World Cups while harboring a secret resentment (and envy) in your hearts for the nations which host tournaments like the La Liga, the Premiere League and the UEFA Champions League! Guess what? You don’t need to save up on loads of money to travel to another country to fulfill your dream of attending a Football World Cup Match! Yeah, you heard it right- India is hosting the 17th edition of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup from October 6 to 28 this year! 

This first tryst of India with WC Football comes as a great news to the exponentially growing football fanbase in the country. A total of 24 teams will be competing in this tournament with 52 games at 6 stadiums across the nation-

  1. Kochi - Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium (JNI)
  2. Navi Mumbai - Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium
  3. New Delhi - Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JLNS)
  4. Kolkata - Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK)
  5. Guwahati - Indira Gandhi Athletic International Stadium (IGAI)
  6. Goa - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (PJN)

About U-17 Football World Cup :

Originally founded as FIFA U-16 World Championship, the FIFA U-17 World Cup is one of the most prestigious events of the football community, in which male players under the age of 17 compete for the title. Held every two years, the first edition of FIFA U-17 WC was hosted in China in 1985. The most recent U-17 WC was held in Chile in 2015 and was won by Nigeria.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

And so, the fever of football has gripped the cricket-obsessed nation! Before the country begins to celebrate ‘Diwali’ the festival of lights, its U-17 colts will take part in the footballing carnival of this magnitude for the first time! Whether you prefer to sit at home and catch the upcoming football sensations take on each other or whether you feel compelled to see the games live to get the real feel of the atmosphere, information about our country’s very own versions of Santiago Bernabeu and Camp Nou are bound to get you excited!

1. Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium (JNI), Kochi

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

With a maximum seating capacity of 75,000 people, JNI is one of the largest and the noisiest stadiums in India! The distinctive architecture of the stadium boasting of lighting towers of 2 kW floodlights makes it one of the best places in the country to enjoy football matches. Built in 1996 by the Government of Kerala, this stadium is locally known as the “Kaloor Stadium.”

JNI is also the home ground of the Kerala Blasters, a highly popular club in the Indian Super League (ISL) franchise. The huge fan following of this club and the gigantic turnout for the Kerala Blasters matches goes on to prove how passionate Keralites are about football. This October, take a break from your office and head to JNI in Kochi to catch the young lads of your favorite team in action!

Matches- JNI will be hosting 8 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC on 7th, 10th, 13rd, 18th, and 22nd October

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- This ground has hosted numerous One Day Internationals (ODIs), Indian Premiere League (IPL) matches and ISL matches

About Kochi- A serene city in the beautiful state of Kerala, Kochi is located on the south-west coast of the Indian Peninsula. The rustic charm and the natural beauty of this area makes Kochi a popular tourist hub in South India. Check out places to visit in Kochi.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the JNI Stadium? If yes, then check this out!

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2. Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium, Navi Mumbai

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A multipurpose stadium in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium is world-renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities. The best part about this stadium is the cantilevered gull wing roof which ensures that all spectators have an unobstructed view and that everyone can enjoy the match without any hindrances in the vision, irrespective of your seating. 

Officially inaugurated in 2008, this stadium has a seating capacity of close to 55,000 people. Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium was the home ground for FC Mumbai City for the first two seasons of the ISL. So, head over to this stadium to enjoy one of the biggest sporting spectacle in the country!

Matches- Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium will be hosting total 8 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC, including the inaugural match on 6th October, then on 9th, 12th, 18th, and 25th October.

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- This ground has hosted numerous One Day Internationals (ODIs), Indian Premiere League (IPL) matches and ISL matches

About Navi Mumbai- The twin city of the commercial capital of India, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai is the excellent example of the growing urbanization in India. With a great infrastructure and world-class structures, Navi Mumbai is the perfect amalgamation of modernity and rustic grandeur. Follow this list of best places to visit in Mumbai while you are experiencing the football fever.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium? If yes, then check this out!

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3. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JLNS), New Delhi

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The National Stadium of India, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JLNS) in New Delhi was specially designed and constructed in 1982 to meet the international standards for stadiums set by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Recently renovated in the year 2010, this stadium with a seating capacity of 60,000 bears a strong resemblance to the design of the Foshan Stadium in China. JLNS has been the home ground for the ISL football club Delhi Dynamos. Boasting of a vibrant crowd and an energetic vibe, this stadium promises to bequeath you with a memorable footballing experience.  

Matches- JLNS will be hosting total 8 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC on 6th, 9th, 12th, and 16th October.

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- 2010 Commonwealth Games, 1982 Asian Games, 1989 Asian Championships in Athletics, numerous One Day Internationals (ODIs) and ISL matches. 

About New Delhi- The Capital of India, New Delhi truly tells the story of India’s journey from being a country ruled upon by numerous dynasties and empires to being labelled as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Presenting a stark contrast between the ancient monuments and the modern commercial estates, Delhi has effortlessly combined the old and the new world charm. Check out some interesting things to do in Delhi when you get a break from the matches.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the JLNS? If yes, then check this out!

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4. Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Kolkata

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With a staggeringly huge seating capacity of 85,000 people, the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Kolkata is the largest stadium in India. Located in the city of Kolkata, a city which prides itself on epitomizing the football craze in India, this stadium has hosted numerous football games of international stature. The stadium, inaugurated in 1984, recently switched to natural grass from artificial turf as a part of the preparations for hosting the U-17 WC.

Since it is situated in the Salk Lake City in Kolkata, VYBK is also popularly known as the Salt Lake Stadium. It is the home ground of the two I-League clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. It was also the home ground of the ISL franchise’s club Atletico de Kolkata. So, football aficionados, book your tickets to this mesmerizing sporting venue and catch the stellar performances of some of the most promising stalwarts of the footballing community! 

Matches- VYBK will be hosting total 10 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC, on 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 22nd and the final game on 28th October.

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- 1986 FIFA World Cup qualification matches, 3rd South Asian Games in 1987, USSR Festival Cup in 1988, the Jawaharlal Nehru International Gold Cup in 1995, Oliver Kahn's official farewell match for Bayern Munich, friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela and numerous ISL matches. 

About Kolkata- The city of Kolkata is often regarded as the cultural and intellectual capital of India. Owing to its rich historical, cultural and artistic heritage, the “City of Joy,” as it is popularly called, Kolkata is indeed a glorious place. Discover what to do in Kolkata in between the matches.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the VYBK Stadium? If yes, then check this out!

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5. Indira Gandhi Athletic International Stadium (IGAI), Guwahati

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Indira Gandhi Athletic International Stadium (IGAI) in Guwahati, Assam is also commonly known as the Sarusajai Stadium. Built in what is considered to be the farthest corner of India, this stadium with a seating capacity of 35,000 people is nothing short of a marvel. It is the home ground of the NorthEast United FC, which is a club in the ISL franchise. 

This remotest part of the country is ironically home to one of the best stadiums in the India and is known to produce some of the finest talents in the sphere of Indian football. If you’ve ever dreamt of exploring the North-east, you have an added incentive this year! Book your tickets to Guwahati and witness the magic of India’s very own football festival unfold right in front of your eyes!

Matches- IGAI will be hosting total 9 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC on 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 21st, and 25th October.

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- 2016 South Asian Games, 33rd National Games of India and numerous ISL matches

About Guwahati- Guwahati, the capital of Assam, provides you a glimpse into the enchanting and fascinating culture and natural beauty of the north-east India. Full of picturesque waterfalls, tea gardens, plains, rivers and mountains, this city is indeed a hidden and unexplored gem of our country. Don't know about the city? here's the list of tourist attractions in Guwahati waiting to be explored.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the IGAI Stadium? If yes, then check this out!

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6. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (PJN), Goa

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in the city of Margao in Goa, the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (PJN) is considered to be the mainstay of Indian football. Inaugurated in the year 1989, this multipurpose stadium has a seating capacity of 19,000 people. 

The home ground of the ISL club of FC Goa and the I-League clubs of Dempo SC, Salgaocar SC, and Sporting Clube de Goa, PJN is known for its comfortable seating arrangements and top-notch lighting facilities. This stadium, which is also known as Fatorda Stadium, was recently renovated in 2014 for the Lusofonia Games. What better place to watch the adrenaline-pumping football games than one of the most energetic and happening places in the country?

Matches- PJN will be hosting total 9 matches of the FIFA U-17 WC on 7th, 10th, 13th, 17th, and 21st October.

Major Tournaments Hosted Previously- India's qualifiers for both the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup, AFC U-16 Championship and numerous ISL matches.

About Goa- A melting pot of Portuguese architecture, charismatic churches, vibrant nightclubs, pristine beaches and rich history, Goa is a place that needs no introduction. One of the most popular vacationer spots in the world, Goa is buzzing with tourists throughout the year.  Check out things to do in Goa whatever be the season.

Looking for affordable places to stay near the PJN Stadium? If yes, then check this out!

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Come October, the entire country will be celebrating the festival of football. A perfect marriage of sports and entertainment, this one is one of the most spectacular football events that the country will witness in a long time! And, guess what? The tickets to this marquee event are cheap and affordable. Excited yet? What are you waiting for! Book your tickets and get ready to be a part of this football carnival! Check here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MEGHANA AGASHE MEGHANA AGASHE

Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession. The eternal love for exploring different places and cuisines, the urge to interact with people across cultures and the thirst for adventures is what drew her to the world of travel. An effervescent and a happy-go-lucky person who draws inspiration from the world of books and movies, she believes in mostly following her heart and very rarely, her brain! One moment you might find her curled up with a book and a cup of coffee while in the next, she might be reaching out for her keys and heading for a road-trip. Unpredictability is something that defines her the best and her sensitive nature juxtaposing with her ambitious attitude, makes her a contradiction of all sorts.

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