New Delhi: In recent times the Odisha government is doing a lot to support the development of Indian football. All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das has hailed Odisha’s effort along with the players.
AIFF-Odisha government MoU
The AIFF had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Odisha government in 2018. A number of teams – U-15, U-17, Indian Arrows and even the senior women’s side have benefitted from the MoU. The teams have been able to access to its state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure in Bhubaneswar since then.
AIFF highlights Odisha’s effort
Das highlighted the ‘major impact’ of the partnership on the sport in India. He thanked the Odisha government for its ‘invaluable support’.
“The MoU with the Government of Odisha has had a major impact on the development of Indian football. A number of teams have been hosted and trained at the state-of- the-art facilities at the Kalinga Stadium complex,” Das said in an AIFF release.
“I thank the Government of Odisha for their invaluable support. The AIFF looks forward to continuing the relationship in strengthening the efforts for the continued growth of the sport in the country,” Das added.
The Kalinga Stadium was the home venue for the Indian Arrows for the 2018-19 season of the I-League. It has hosted both editions of the Hero Super Cup, along with the Hero Gold Cup in February last year. The Indian senior women’s team faced off against Myanmar, Nepal and Iran.
“Sports continues to be a top priority for the Government of Odisha. The Odisha High Performance Centre for National Youth Teams marks a convergence between the vision of the Government of Odisha and the AIFF,” said Odisha sports secretary, Vishal Kumar Dev.
Midfielder Amarjit Kiyam, currently a member of the men’s senior national team, talked about the “perfect infrastructure” at the Kalinga Stadium.
“The stadium pitch was perfect. It allowed us to play our possession-style game which was a key feature of that Arrows team. The training pitch was excellent too and had floodlights which allowed us to train in the evening as well. Where in India do you get that,” Kiyam said.
“It was a really memorable experience for all of us in the team. We did well in the Hero I-League that season. For me, it was a good campaign as I scored five goals too,” he added.
Venue for U-17 Women’s WC
It should be stated here that Bhubaneswar has been selected as one of the venues for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. It is also slated to host the FIFA World Cup Qualifying match between India and Qatar.