The Chief Minister of the state had a key role behind accommodation of the players for training.

All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das has stated that the camp for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup side will commence by October 15 in Jharkhand, with the state’s keenness to host the camp proving to be the clincher.  

The tournament was previously set to kickoff in the month of November later this year. However, the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a change in schedule, with the event now being postponed to February-March next year. “We were planning to start the U-17 World Cup camp in the first week of October, but now it will be by 15th October,” Kushal Das told PTI.

At first, the AIFF was looking to start the camp in August, but a rise in COVID-19 cases across the nation meant that they had to alter their plans.  Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s eagerness to accommodate the players played a key role in the state being awarded the chance to host the camp. Moreover, the India U-17 World Cup probables consist of eight players from the state, who are working hard to secure a spot in the final squad. Accordingly, the CM is ready to back the players to the hilt and has even paid them a visit during this period.

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As a result of the postponement of the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, the senior men’s national team has no games to look forward for the rest of this year. For now, the full focus is on preparing the girls in the best possible manner for the U-17 World Cup. The federation is also looking to organize exposure tours for the side in November and December.

“Now that the U-16 AFC Championship has been postponed and the senior team is also not playing any matches, the focus is primarily on the Women’s U-17 World Cup team,” Das said.

Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Kolkata and Navi Mumbai have been selected as the five host cities, with the Indian U-17 women’s team set to play all its group stage matches at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.

Meanwhile, the upcoming I-League and 2nd Division League tournament will be held in Kolkata, with I-League CEO Sunando Dhar already performing a recce of the venues, hotels and training grounds. The games will take place at the Salt Lake Stadium and grounds in Kalyani, Barasat, and Howrah.

The General Secretary revealed that they are working on framing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for hosting the league matches amidst the pandemic. “Hopefully, in the next few days we will have the full SOP,” Das concluded.

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