Football fraternity is delighted over the Kerala Football Association (KFA) getting the Ambedkar stadium in the city from the Greater Cochin Development Authority on 20 years’ lease exclusively for the development of the game.
KFA president K.M.I. Mather and GCDA Chairman N. Venugopal signed an agreement in this regard on Thursday.
C.C. Jacob, former Indian International and coach, said that the move would go a long way in the development of the game in a city where football grounds have disappeared over the years. He said that the stadium should be made available for smaller competitions and tournaments for a small fee without profit considerations.
Mr. Jacob said that the gallery should be repositioned as part of the renovation of the stadium. Ideally, goalposts in a football ground should be positioned south-north. At present, the gallery is where the goalposts should be.
“There will be enough space for a practice ground alongside the main ground while demolishing the existing gallery and relocating it. That space should be effectively utilised as a practice ground is common feature of all stadiums across the world,” he said.
Former Indian captain I.M. Vijayan said that an exclusive football stadium was long overdue in the city.
“The only football ground was in the custody of the Kerala Cricket Association and was available for the game depending on the timing of cricket matches. A ground exclusively for football will definitely help to popularise the game among the youngsters,” he said. Mr. Vijayan, however, reminded that maintenance of the stadium was equally important.