Top five football centric stadiums in India
Written by: Sourav Ganguly
Some of these names have been associated with the history of the game in the country.
Over the years India has been coming up through the ranks as an emerging footballing nation.The love for the game has spread far and wide across the country, creating a new generation of fans. As a result of which new and improved football stadiums are being built, so that the fans get to enjoy the game in the best possible way.
However, with the fact that most of the top stadiums in the country are multi-purpose or athletic stadiums, the lack of football-only stadia has always been an Achiles heel for the domestic game. Although, several football stadiums are currently being built, we take a look at the five best operational football-centric stadiums:
5. Dr. Ambedkar Stadium (New Delhi)
Ambedkar Stadium has been one of the lucrative destinations for teams in Delhi
The stadium named in honour of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is a football stadium in New Delhi, India. Opened in 2007 it has a listed capacity of 35,000.
The stadium has played hosts to many matches including in tournaments like the Nehru Cup. In 2007, it hosted the tournament's final between India and Syria, followed by the 2009 edition's showpiece again between the same two sides, both of which India won. It also hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match against UAE in 2011.
4. Paljor Stadium (Gangtok)
Pajor Stadium was once home to United Sikkim FC in the I-League
Also known as Palzor Stadium, it is a stadium located in Gangtok, Sikkim. The home of United Sikkim FC, it is currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium can hold 30,000 people.
The work to upgrade Paljor Stadium was started in April 2001 and after completion, it was handed over to the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs.
3. Cooperage Stadium, Mumbai
The Cooperage Stadium has been one of the most iconic stadiums in the country: ©Vishal Patel
The Cooperage Stadium, once the home of now defunct I-League side Mumbai FC, is another stadium which has been one of the top football grounds in India.
The stadium falls under the jurisdiction of Western India Football Association (WIFA), who have stated the capacity to be around 7000. One of the most iconic stadiums in India, the ground has hosted the I-League as well as Rovers Cup (since pre-independence of India) and many other top level tournaments in the past.
The legendary Rovers Cup used to take place at this very venue and teams from Europe as well as across India would actively participate in the tournament. In fact, it was a huge honour to participate in the tournament and people from all walks of life would flood in to catch a glimpse of the stars.
The stadium was also shortlisted and visited by a three-member FIFA team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. However, it could not make the cut to become one of final venues for the tournament.
2. Mumbai Football Arena (Mumbai)
Mumbai Football Arena has been one of the most favored destinations for the Indian footbal team
Located at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai, it is primarily used for football matches and tournaments.
With a capacity of 8,000 spectators it first expected to be one of the venues for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. It also hosted an international friendly on 3 September 2016, between India and Puerto Rico, with the former winning 4-1 in front of a packed stadium. It was the first international friendly hosted by the city in 61 years.
The year 2018 saw the stadium hosting seven matches of the Interncontinental Cup, including games against Kenya, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei in the four-way tournament.
1. The EKA Arena by TransStadia (Gujarat)
Watch: EKA Arena by TransStadia is India's first world-class football stadium
The EKA Arena by TransStadia or simply The Arena, is a multi-purpose stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, located in Kankaria Lake. The stadium was completed in 2016 and officially opened on 7 October 2016. It has a capacity of over 20,000 people in the outdoor stadium and over 4,000 in the indoor arena and a FIFA standard football pitch. It was constructed under a public-private-partnership (PPP) with the Government of Gujarat and SE TransStadia for developing a sports culture in India. It is considered to be Asia's biggest and India's first convertible stadium.
The stadium boasts of a state of the art FIFA standard pitch at an elevation of 4.8 meters, especially made of Bermuda Grass. It has hosted four preliminarily round Group A matches of the I-League 2nd Division, as well as the, AFC Cup games of Chennaiyin FC. The EKA Arena is also hosting the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2019 where India, Tajikistan, DPR Korea and Syria are fighting it out to win the title.
Honorary mentions: Duler Stadium (Goa), Tilak Maidan (Goa), Bangalore Football Stadium (Bengaluru),
Published: Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:21 AM IST