A massive crowd of Indian football fans and followers is expected to watch India fight it out against Bangladesh in a Group E Asian Qualifiers match for the FIFA World Cup scheduled to be held at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) Stadium in Kolkata on Tuesday. All the tickets have reportedly been sold days prior to the match.
Kolkata, known for its passionate and mad sports-loving people, will host the national football team for the first time after 2011 when India had defeated Malaysia 3-2 in a friendly encounter.
Notably, despite the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan having a capacity of 65,000 spectators, the stadium is expected to be a jam-packed one.
“The demand for tickets have been massive since the day India held Qatar to a goalless draw. Now we are struggling to meet demands and even our commitments,” an All India Football Federation (AIFF) source was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
India only have a point to show to their credit which they stole from the match against Qatar as they were able to draw the game against favourites Qatar. They also produced a good performance in the match against Oman but narrowly lost the match 1-2 after taking an early lead. Nonetheless, India start the Bangladesh match as favourites against an opponent which is ranked 83 ranks below their 104.
“We want to see Sunil Chhetri in action. It’s been a while since India played in Kolkata. They are doing well and we want to cheer them,” a fan said.
Meanwhile, Igor Stimac, the head coach of the Indian team stated at a press conference that he is looking forward to the Indian team playing in front of a capacity crowd.
“I was told that in Kolkata you will get Bangladesh supporters also. I am happy that they will come to the ground. Football is about joy and everyone should enjoy the game tomorrow,” said the Croatian.
“We know that we have somehow woken up everyone with our recent performances. We have shown that on our day we can play against anyone. In the first two games, we were not favourites. By now the whole pressure is on us. We worked very hard to ensure everyone enjoys the game we are trying to implement and we hope the efforts give us a result. We have to win this game so that we have a chance to keep dreaming,” he added.
On the other hand, Bangladesh’s English coach Jamie Day stated that it would be quite an experience for his team to play in front of such a massive crowd.
“If I were a player I would have looked forward to play in front of such a crowd. I told my players you might not get a chance to play again in front of such a crowd so make the most of it. I want them to be confident and play their natural game.”
India would look forward to registering their first win in the qualifier and keep their dream alive of participating in the FIFA World Cup.