Bhubaneswar: The city of Bhubaneswar was abuzz with excitement as the Intercontinental Cup 2023 kicked off at the Kalinga Stadium here.
Two high-octane encounters enthralled the thousands of fans in attendance. Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik was also in attendance. The first time the Indian National Football team is playing in Odisha. Also in attendance was President of the All India Football Federation, Kalyan Chaubey and General Secretary of the All India Football Federation, Shaji Prabhakaran.
On the glorious atmosphere at the stadium, Naveen Patnaik said, “I would like to welcome all four teams to Odisha. It gives me immense pride to see that the people of Bhubaneswar have shown up in huge numbers to support their favorite teams. I am looking forward to an exciting tournament and best of luck to all the teams.”
Just a few months ago, the people of Odisha showed up in the thousands to cheer on the Indian Hockey Team as they competed for supremacy at the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, displaying the same level of the enthusiasm from the fans, the atmosphere reached fever pitch during the second encounter of the day, where the Blue Tigers took on Mongolia, for the first time ever. An electrified crowd greeted every pass, every tackle and every goal with a thunderous cheer.
Sai Shivdutt, a 24-year-old resident of Bhubaneswar, spoke on the thrill of supporting India from the stands and his excitement at watching the tournament unfold at the Kalinga Stadium, “This is the second time I am visiting this wonderful stadium, last time I was here was for the FIFA Women’s U17 World Cup and the stadium looks even better now. It is such a privilege to watch these international teams play here in Bhubaneswar and the atmosphere has been terrific.”
Another fan in attendance, Navdeep Das who was accompanied by his son, said, “The environment here in Bhubaneswar has been fantastic. It is incredible for the younger generations to be able to watch and experience these international tournaments. It will surely inspire them.”