Odisha FC To Play First Three Home Matches In Pune
Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC vs ATK (November 24), Odisha FC vs. Bengaluru FC (December 4) and Odisha FC vs. Hyderabad FC ( December 11). Venue: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune.
This is the final schedule of the first three matches for Odisha. They cannot be played on the designated home ground because Kalinga Stadium in the state capital is not yet ready to host the matches.
Officials said the work was hampered due to the torrential rains in the last week of October. The sand filling was washed away and had to be redone again. The filling work is expected to be completed in three days, but putting a green top will need at least three weeks. This almost eliminates any chance of Odisha FC playing any home match here till December last week.
“We are likely to shift two or three home matches as the ground is yet to be prepared. Everything was on right track but due to prolonged monsoon, the groundwork has been delayed. Discussion is on for an alternative venue but we are yet to finalise. We will make the announcement soon,” a report in New Indian Express quoted Odisha FC CEO Ashish Shah as saying.
Sources said the team is eyeing either Pune or Ahmedabad for playing the home matches.
Odisha FC has made a slow start in its maiden ISL campaign, suffering two back-to-back defeats against Jamshedpur FC and North East United. It, however, made a comeback by winning against Mumbai City in the third match. In the last away match of the first phase, it will face Kerala Blasters on November 8.
The Kalinga Stadium ground is up for renovation to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020 to be held from November 2-21 next year. The authorities are racing against time to prepare the ground as members of the FIFA Technical Committee will visit it in the first week of December to assess the progress of work.