Kochi: It was an unforgettable moment for the football fans who thronged the Jawaharlal Nehru international stadium here on Friday, when the Winner’s Trophy of FIFA Under-17 World Cup-2017 was unveiled by Mr A.C. Moideen, minister for sports. The function reflected the vibrant, rich and colourful cultural heritage of Kerala. Traditional dance and art forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, Theyyam, Arjuna nrutham, Ottan thullal, Kavadi, Vela kali and Padayani were on display at the stadium in front of a large crowd that gathered to participate and kick-start the ‘Trophy Experience’ in the city.
Sports enthusiasts were seen taking selfies with the trophy and ‘Kheleo,’ the leopard which is the tournament’s mascot. The Trophy Experience will give football fans a unique opportunity to witness the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be lifted by the winning team on October 28 in Kolkata. While unveiling the trophy, the minister said, “FIFA U-17 World Cup would be a great leap in the football development of Kerala, which is now ready to welcome the World Cup extravaganza. World class infrastructure facilities are being readied. The state government has spent Rs.43 crore for arranging the facilities,” he said.
“Promotional activities will be conducted across the state before the tournament kicks off. Celebrity football matches will be held between the chief minister’s team and the speaker’s team and IPS-IAS officials and media professionals,” the minister added. A torch rally will be organised ahead of the event, which will start from Kasargod on October 3 and culminate in Kochi on October 6. On Saturday, the Winner’s Trophy will be placed at Ambedkar stadium between 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Concluding the Trophy Experience in India, Fort Kochi will host the trophy between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday. The first match between Brazil and Spain will be kicked off in Kochi on October 7.