The D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai
The D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai

Guwahati to host opener of FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup

By Harpal Singh Bedi/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 18, 2020

For the first time, the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be played in India from November 2 to 21 will be held at five venues instead of the traditional four.

Unveiling the official slogan of the tournament, "Kick Off The Dream'', Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that he was happy that FIFA agreed to All India Football Federation 's (AIFF) request to spread the tournament to five venues.

"India is a vast country, a sub-continent in itself and we wanted to take the world's most popular sport -- football -- to areas which are turning out to be its nurseries."

The five venues where this 20-day-long tournament, in which the world's 16 best youth teams in women's football will take part, are Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium, Ahmedabad's TransStadia Stadium, Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium and Navi Mumbai's D Y Patil Stadium.

The opening game of the 32- match tournament is slated to be played at Guwahati on November 2 and the final will be held in Navi Mumbai on 21 November.

Group-stage matches will be played in four host cities (Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati and Kolkata), with the knockout stages also taking place in four cities (Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Navi Mumbai).

The quarter-finals will be played on November 12 and 13, while the semi-finals will be held on November 17.

The youth football extravaganza will be India's second after having hosted the FIFA U-17 Men's World Cup in 2017.

Assuring his Ministry's and the Government's full support for the successful conduct of the event, Rijiiu said, “It gives me immense pleasure as I congratulate all the five cities hosting the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2020."

"As India prepares to host yet another FIFA event, I look forward to the support from the whole country in making this tournament a rousing success. Our Indian women's team will be playing for the first time at a FIFA tournament. It is a proud moment for the nation and we will provide all support to ensure its success,” he added.

Sarai Bareman, Chief Women’s Football Officer at FIFA, said: “Today’s announcement of the match schedule, host cities and official slogan for the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup India represents a major moment for the tournament and football fans across India and around the world.

"As we look to build on the incredible success of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, as well as the legacy left from the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017, the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India provides an exciting opportunity, not just for the development of women’s football, but for fans across India and around the world to watch the next superstars of the women’s game.

“As the official tournament slogan, Kick Off The Dream perfectly captures the aspirational and empowering message for the tournament as we look to grow women’s football and use the tournament as a platform to inspire girls of all ages across India and around the world.”she added

Roberto Grassi, FIFA Head of Youth Tournaments,who was also present on the occasion opined “With five host cities and 16 teams playing across 32 matches, the stage is set for the rising stars at the U-17 Women’s World Cup . Tournament preparations are well underway and approaching their final stages, and we are excited to work closely with the LOC to bring the tournament to life.

"We are confident that India will deliver a truly spectacular FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup later this year, while providing the players with a platform to perform at their highest level.”

AIFF chief Praful Patel, who is also Chairman of the organizing committee, said, “The announcement of the match schedule is an important moment on the road to the tournament as we not only know which cities will host what number of matches, but fans too can start saving the dates for this November.

"I am confident that the five host cities will do a wonderful job hosting the best young footballers in this important tournament," he said

Roma Khanna, LOC Tournament Director added: “This is the first time that an Indian women’s team will take part in a FIFA World Cup. It is a significant moment for women’s sport in the country, and in recognition of the excitement, and the hope that this Tournament brings with itself, ‘Kick Off The Dream’ was the most fitting choice as the slogan for us and we hope to kickstart the growth of women’s football in the nation and ask everyone to join us to realise this dream.”

In the run-up to the World Cup, the Indian U-17 Women's team is currently on an exposure tour to Turkey, where it plays two games against Romania U-17 women's team. The Thomas Dennerby-ledside secured a 3-3 draw in the first game on Sunday.

Meanwhile the AIFF has also appointed former Nigeria captain, Precious Dede, to train and prepare the Indian goalkeepers for the U-17 Women’s World Cup. A World Cupper and Olympian, Dede has had 99 caps for the Super Falcons -- with two African Women’s Championship titles under her belt.