KOCHI: The wait is over and Kochi is all set to let loose the football frenzy. Fans have begun flocking to Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, to be a part of the U-17 World Cup, which is being hosted by the country for the first time. FIFA’s billboards with the hashtag #FootballTakes Over have sprung up in the stadium and the ring roads leading to it. JNI stadium wore a different look and awaits, with facilities of international standard, for the action to begin today. The fans admitted the stadium looks better than it ever has with the colourful bucket seating. The Kaloor Stadium shares a strong bond with the beautiful game since it is the home ground of states’ ISL team Kerala Blasters FC. The stadium had been packed to capacity for the ISL matches.
Though FIFA has slashed the seating capacity to 29,000, it has not dampened the spirit of the fans. The fans made a final run to procure their tickets after the fourth stage sales via box offices in front of the venue commenced on Friday. However, the tickets got sold out within seconds as soon as the counters opened on 10 am. As expected, fans from Malappuram will make up a big chunk of the spectators. However, Malappuram guys, who are hardcore Brazil fans, will begin arriving at the venue in large contingent only by Saturday morning. The opening match, Brazil v Spain, is considered as one of the premier attractions of this world cup event.
“We are with Brazil and the match will be a memorable one,” said an excited Shafeer Salim, a youth from Malappuram. According to him, he is very happy to be part of the historic event. The people seen queueing to pick up tickets at the box office during peak hours numbered at least 20 in one queue. However, all tickets got sold out and people could be seen queuing to pick up tickets they had booked online.“I have been looking for the tickets and found them to be sold out. However, on Friday morning I came to know that a few tickets were available for Category 3 at Rs 200 and booked five tickets at once,” said Anoop, an employee of Cochin Shipyard.However, many fans could be seen standing disappointed in front of the box office since the tickets for Brazil v Spain were all sold out. “We are very disappointed,” said Sakheer, from Kannur.
Entry for the games will be allowed from 3 pm.
Though one can leave the stadium before the completion of a match, re-entry is not allowed.
Only those with valid tickets will be allowed to enter the Stadium Circle Road.
The Stadium Circle Road, nearby roads and the stadium itself will be under CCTV surveillance.
Avoid parking vehicles in ‘No Parking zones
Spectators should park vehicles at the St Albert’s College Ground and enter the stadium after security screening.
KThose who are from Karanakodam side should park the vehicles at Water Authority Ground.
Only players’ vehicles will be allowed on the Stadium Ring Road.
Inside the stadium, only essential medicines, feeding bottles for children, purses and women’s vanity bags will be allowed.
Remote keys and wallets are allowed.
Taking water bottles food packets, ‘Nazikdhols’, helmets, bags and sticks inside the stadium are prohibited.
Only vehicles bearing FIFA VIP/Kochi VIP stickers will be allowed to enter the stadium via Banerjee Road.