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14 Oct 2019, 05:59 IST

NEW DELHI: Two partitions outdoors the dressing rooms on the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium in Kolkata are sufficient to present one a way of the wealthy historical past that has been witnessed contained in the ramparts of the cauldron that in 1997 witnessed a document attendance of over 130,000 spectators within the 1997 Federation Cup semi-final between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. 

Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Oliver Kahn, Romario, Zico, Roberto Carlos, Thomas Muller, Carlos Valderrama – these are among the greats from world wide of soccer to have laid foot on the hallowed turf of the stadium.

However the enviornment that had even hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup Closing two years again, although, nonetheless, has not skilled Worldwide soccer for about eight years. All that’s now about to vary, as India will get set to tackle Bangladesh within the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint-Qualifiers on the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium on Tuesday, October 15. 

Footballers who hail from the Metropolis of Pleasure are delighted that the Nationwide group will lastly play within the enviornment they typically confer with because the ‘Mecca of Indian Soccer’.

“Everybody is aware of that Kolkata is the Mecca of Indian soccer. I’ve performed right here at Mohun Bagan for the sooner a part of my profession. The followers listed here are simply loopy,” midfielder Pronay Halder said.

Arnab Mondal, who had operated within the coronary heart of the Indian defence between 2013 to 2017, feels that India taking part in at this venue after a very long time makes this a really special day.

“I’ve grown up taking part in right here, in Kolkata. Soccer is the lifeline right here. Their help supplies plenty of enhance to the gamers throughout a recreation. The gamers all the time know their followers are behind them,” mentioned Mondal.

“Town will likely be internet hosting a world match after a extremely very long time. This in itself, makes this recreation enormous within the eyes of the native followers. Only a few states in India can match-up to the ambiance we get right here in Kolkata,” he continued.

Pronay believes that the truth that followers journey lengthy distances even for membership video games bodes effectively for the potential turnout in India’s match in opposition to Bangladesh. He urged the soccer followers on the town to get collectively behind the Blue Tigers, like they’d, for his or her membership groups.

“They journey from far to help the groups they love. However this time, it’s the Nationwide group that can play right here. So let’s all get collectively and help the group. I hope that everybody involves the bottom on the day and we’ve got packed stands,” he mentioned.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old regrets that he was not match sufficient to make the squad for the sport in opposition to Bangladesh. Having suffered an harm earlier this yr, Pronay has recovered sufficiently and has returned to the coaching floor. He’s but to be again to full health and is working in direction of it.

 

A BOOST FROM THE QATAR GAME

India head into the sport in opposition to Bangladesh on the again of a historic 0-Zero draw in opposition to AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar in their very own den, one thing that no Asian group had been capable of do in opposition to them this yr.

Pronay believes that it was a group effort that helped India earn the historic end result. “The group fought lots within the away recreation in opposition to Qatar, and that one level that we obtained out of the troublesome recreation was well-earned. It was fully a group effort that obtained us that historic draw. It gave the boys that perception that we will additionally arise and struggle prime groups,” he mentioned.

Nevertheless, the midfielder feels that every one the laborious work put in by the Indian group within the Qatar match will likely be wasted if they don’t choose up the three factors at dwelling in opposition to Bangladesh.

“That gave the boys plenty of confidence and motivation, however it could imply nothing if we don’t observe that up with a win in opposition to Bangladesh. That makes this match all of the extra vital, and that’s the reason we’d like all of the help we will get from the followers,” he mentioned.

That, nonetheless, is less complicated mentioned than finished, as Arnab Mondal believes that we may have a derby-like ambiance on the playing cards on October 15.

“Since there may be such geographic proximity, I consider that we’ll have some followers from Bangladesh within the stands, and the ambiance may very well be just like the Derby,” he mentioned.

Recalling India’s final dwelling recreation in opposition to Bangladesh again in 2014 in Goa, a match that ended 2-2, Arnab feels that the present Nationwide Workforce gamers are a lot youthful and fitter, one thing that makes them well-equipped to cope with varied conditions.

“We drew that match 2-2. I believe the present crop is far fitter than what the unit was, again then. In addition they have some younger gamers, who’re fairly proficient,” mentioned Arnab.