The brand new facility has only recently been constructed earlier this year.
The Indian Football Association (IFA) is making big leaps into spreading its name all around Kolkata and is about to make its presence felt around Salt Lake Stadium. According to Bengali newspaper Aajkaal, the brand new Salt Lake Stadium metro station is being named ‘IFA Salt Lake Stadium’ after the state FA approached the metro authorities on the same.
A part of the East-West metro corridor, the station officiated began operations in limited capacity earlier in 2020, before the Covid-19 lockdown forced it to close down again for a number of months. But now with the Metro services having resumed, the IFA is taking over the branding of Salt Lake Stadium metro station.
The general secretary of the IFA, Joydeep Mukherjee, is said to have played a big role to achieve this milestone, which will enable IFA to become the first-ever official sporting body to have a metro station named after itself in the city. The station will be redecorated to a football centric theme, with legendary Indian footballers facilitated into the walls.
Photos of the likes of PK Banerjee, Sailen Manna and Chuni Goswami will be etched into the walls and the history of many Indian footballers will also be embedded inside the Salt Lake Stadium metro station. Moreover, the history of the IFA itself will also be printed into the walls to make it feel like a hub of Indian football itself.
The station is expected to be renamed on Thursday with the general manager of Kolkata metro Manoj Joshi and Mukherjee expected to go on with the proceedings. The IFA has also put out hoarding advertisements around the city to promote its name and branding as they look to regain their reputation as top state FA in the country.
The Salt Lake Stadium has of course been the place to host many iconic matches in Kolkata. Be it Oliver Kahn testimonial match that took place in 2008 or Lionel Messi playing in Argentina’s friendly game against Venezuela in 2011, it has hosted many legendary footballers. It also hosted the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup successfully and before that tournament, the initial branding of various footballers was done in the metro station (which was still a work in progress). So one can imagine the matter of pride it is for IFA to earn this name.
The IFA will also be organizing the I-League second division qualifiers from October 8. The games will take place at the Salt Lake Stadium and Kalyani stadium behind closed doors, but a successful tournament will only bestow more confidence from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) onto the IFA ahead of the I-League which begins in Kolkata later this year.