Colourful welcome for World Cup in Kochi

With the under-17 FIFA World Cup reaching Kochi on Friday, work has gathered pace to get the city ready for the championship which will have its opening game, between Brazil and Spain, on October 7.

Dancers perform during the 'Winners Trophy Experience' in front of Nehru Stadium.   -  THULASI KAKKAT

The beautification work around the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here is in full swing and there is a rush to blacktop the roads nearby. Even the Metro is getting ready for a new extension up to the Maharaja’s Stadium.

With the under-17 FIFA World Cup reaching the city on Friday, work has gathered pace to get Kochi ready for the championship which will have its opening game, between Brazil and Spain, on October 7.

The World Cup winner’s trophy, which reached the city from Goa, was unveiled by the Kerala sports minister A. C. Moideen in front of the Nehru Stadium on Friday. Many former players, including Xavier Pius, C. C. Jacob and M. M. Jacob were present.

The trophy will be kept at the Ambedkar Stadium from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. on Saturday and at the Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. A flash mob is being planned during the trophy’s visit to Fort Kochi.

“We will have a lot of promotional activities in the run-up to the World Cup,” said Moideen.

A ‘one million goals’ programme (where over 10 lakh people will shoot into an open goal) through the State, a celebrity match and a torch relay from Kannur and Kaliyakavilai are some of the events that will be held over the next few days.

With the Kerala High Court ordering the shops around the stadium to be closed and asking the Greater Cochin Development Authority, the stadium’s owner, to deposit Rs 25 lakh which could be paid to the shop owners to compensate for their loss, the small worry over Kochi has gone.

STADIUM NOT BE PAINTED

However, the Nehru Stadium will not have a new coat of paint.

“We have completed all the works that the FIFA had asked us to do,” said the Sports Minister.

Meanwhile, the GCDA chairman C. N. Mohanan said the rain over the last few weeks had delayed the painting work and now there was not enough time to do it.

  Dugout videos