Guwahati, Aug 9 (IANS) Under-17 FIFA World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi on Wednesday underlined the unexpected decline in the sale of tickets in the third phase in Guwahati.
The city is lagging behind Kolkata and Kochi in ticket sales after it exhausted its available inventory of tickets for Phase I and II.
“Ticket sales in Guwahati were extremely strong in Phase I and Phase II but have unexpectedly declined currently. Football is a religion in Guwahati and other parts of the North-East India, and hence we are not very worried about filling the stadium,” Ceppi said.
“The internet penetration in the city is good and we don’t see the online sale of tickets as a concern; however, fans just need a reminder for the best live football they are about to witness,” he added.
The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. which can now accommodate 23,850 people, will host the likes of France, Japan, Mexico and Chile.
“It may seem to people that not too attractive teams are here, but let me tell you France has Amine Gouiri who was the top scorer of UEFA U-17 Championship with eight goals. He already plays in Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) for their senior team.
“Takefusa Kubo plays for Japan – he was the star of Barcelona youth system and is the youngest scorer in the J-League. We saw him last year in the AFC U-16 Championships, and he is an absolute phenomenon. He is bound to be the best Asian player ever. Such is the quality of the players coming in Guwahati for the games,” said Ceppi.
Guwahati has one of the best line up of teams coming to India this October with traditional powerhouses France and Chile grouped with Asian giants Japan and Mexico, who won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011 and secured a second placed finish in 2013.
“I have spoken to the club presidents of Chile football clubs, who have produced the likes of Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo, Gary Medel and they were confident that their U-17 team is capable of beating the senior clubs in Chile. Mexico, as we all know, has an excellent reputation in the tournament and are a force to be reckoned with,” said Ceppi.