News Article

FIFA U-17 World Cup City Guide: Guwahati

Written by: Rahul Sengupta

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The capital of Assam is next in our series on the host cities of the biggest event in Indian foootball history.

Guwahati was the fifth venue after Kerala, Goa, Mumbai and Delhi to be confirmed as one of the host cities of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. In terms of enthusiasm Guwahati is way up ahead of other venues. The newly elected BJP government in Assam has been instrumental in fine tuning the stadium and have reportedly spent over Rs.25 crores to match the international requirements.

Tipped as the gateway to the northeast, Guwahati is the hub of all business and administration for Assam and certain parts of Meghalaya as well. The well-connected city acts as the junction for any traveller visiting other northeastern states. Football is almost like a way of life here, Indian Super League team NorthEast United have made Guwahati their base and they have been receiving a decent response so far.

IGIA Stadium underwent massive renovation

Led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Guwahati is slowly growing an appetite to become a hub for international sporting events. Not only are they gearing up for the U-17 World Cup, Assam will also host an international T20 match, the world Youth Women’s Boxing Championship and an International Badminton event soon.

The four teams that will be setting up their base in Guwahati are France, Honduras, Japan and New Caledonia. France and Japan have been regulars at the world stage, both the teams have exciting talents to look out for while Honduras and New Caledonia are teams who have made it to the U-17 World Cup for the first time.

Apart from watching these teams in action, the crowd in Assam will also get to watch the mouthwatering clash between Chile and Mexico as well.

Indira Gandhi International Athletics Stadium

IGIA Stadium situated in Sarusajai, was built almost a decade ago to host the 33rd National Games in 2007. Ever since then the magnificent stadium has been a centre for exciting sporting events. It recently hosted the South Asian Games, ISL and international football matches to name a few.  

The refurbished stadium underwent a whole lot of changes to be eligible to host a FIFA U-17 World Cup match. The stadium which used to have a capacity of over 35, 000 will now be able to accommodate around 23, 000 people after converting into an all-seater one. The IGIA stadium complex also boasts of a newly laid down natural turf which has been relayed and brought up to speed in record time to make it ready for the final go ahead.

Relayed turf at the IGIA will be a key highlight to look out for (Credits: ISL)

There are 3 spectator entry gates which are spread across the stadium. Each gate leads to their specific stairs and stands. The details of the stadium plan are

Gate 1: West Stand and South Stand 
Gate 2: North Stand
Gate 3: East Stand

The ticket collection booth which will be functional very soon will be set up at ISBT in Betkuchi which is around 4 kilometres from the stadium. Ticket holders can pick up their tickets from the booth and avail a shuttle service to reach the stadium.

How to get to the Stadium

The stadium is located in Sarusajai near Lokhra. Though the main entry point of the stadium falls in National Highway 37, the stadium can also be approached via Bhetapara and Lokhra to access the other gates. Regular Assam State Government buses that ply towards Hatigaon, Bhetapara, National Games Village and Lokhra will be able to help a person reach the IGIA Stadium.

Internet App based cab services like Ola, Uber and Ogo provide share as well as direct cab hailing services till the stadium.

The closest station from Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati

Nearest Airport – Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport
Nearest Railway Station – Kamakhya Junction

Seeking Accommodation-  

Since the IGIA stadium is located on the national highway no 37, there is nearby lodges and guest houses near Lokhra and National Games village which falls within the 1-kilometre radius of the stadium. However, nearby popular tourist destinations like Sixth Mile and GS Road are a hub for tourists to find all kinds of options starting from bed and breakfasts to nearby five-star hotels.

Aid to Foreign Enthusiasts

For all the international fans visiting Guwahati, guests will be treated to a traditional Assamese welcome at the airport where the authorities will set up an information booth for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Additionally, the state government has taken active steps to ensure that the local people are well aware of the tournament and its importance in the international stage. The following embassies and consul general offices could come in handy for foreign nationals during their stay in Guwahati.

New Caledonia Consulate In Kolkata – 21 C Raja Santosh Road, Kolkata 700027. Phone No - +913340163200

Japanese Embassy in New Delhi – Plot no 4 & 5, 50 G, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021. Phone no - +911126876581

France Embassy in Kolkata - 21 C Raja Santosh Road, Kolkata 700027. Phone No - +913340163200

Honduras Embassy in New Delhi – E 5/1 Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057. Phone No +911146088848

Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  1. Dress comfortably. October heat is going to be a tough phenomenon to tackle here.
  2. Carry sunglasses, hats and so on for day matches.
  3. Have an Identity Proof with you at all times.
  4. Understand your ticket and its location. There are 14 gates, you will need to know which one will be the closest access point to your seat.
  5. Enter hydrated and with a full stomach.
  6. Reach at least one and a half hours prior to kickoff to avail the best seats and avoid hassles. (Because then you will reach the stadium at least 30 minutes before kickoff).

Don’ts

  1. Don’t carry any external camera, gadgets, except your mobile phone.
  2. Do not carry any eatables, cigarettes and so on. Not only will these things be confiscated at the entrance, but can go to your right to enter.
  3. Do not restrict yourself from sharing this article. 

Published: Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 PM IST

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