By, Sobhan Garnaik
Here’s some uplifting news for football admirers of Odisha. Bhubaneswar touted as the sports capital will have the opportunity to host a total of eight matches of the upcoming FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.
This is the second time India will host a FIFA competition. The competition, which was prior planned to occur in November 2020, was, however, deferred because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is scheduled to happen from February 17 to March 7 next year.
Likewise, the temple city will host a quarter-final and a semi-final match on February 28 and March 3 individually. The competition will flag off with double-headers at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati and the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar with matches in Group A and Group B.
The league games will be held on February 17, 20, and 23, while quarter-finals will be played on February 28 and semi-finals on March 3. The third-place encounter and the final will happen in Navi Mumbai on March 7.
Kalinga Stadium is among the five venues where the competition will be played. The other host cities are Guwahati, Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. The five cities will host 32 matches involving 16 teams.
ICYMI: Latest happenings at Odisha FC
Odisha FC announced the signing of 64-year-old Gerry Peyton as Assistant Coach of the team ahead of the seventh edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). He joined the Bhubaneswar-based club on a two-year deal on Friday.
The former arsenal goalkeeping coach played for numerous reputed clubs like West Ham United, Everton, Fulham, and Chelsea. Before joining Odisha FC, the Irish national team’s former goalkeeper was the assistant manager of Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse after leaving Arsenal in 2018.
“I am looking forward to working in India with my friend and colleague Stuart Baxter, along with all the staff and players. Together we aim to build a successful project at Odisha FC that will leave a legacy for all of Odisha for years to come”, expressed the 64-year-old Gerry Peyton.
Earlier, Odisha FC and assistant Coach Thangboi Singto parted ways. The 46-year-old Manipuri had joined the club ahead of the sixth season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in 2019 and was also the Head of Youth Development of the club.
Last week, the Bhubaneswar-based club roped in 66-year-old Stuart Baxter as their head coach ahead of the 2020-21 season.
The English-born scot will be the club’s sixth coach in seven seasons as he is set to take over from Josep Gombau, who drove the club in the course of the last two seasons at Delhi Dynamos and later Odisha FC.
In his overall coaching career, Baxter has overseen 455 games in all competitions, won 220, drew 75 and lost 160 times in his time in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Delhi Dynamos/Odisha FC’s best execution so far is making it to the end of the season games twice, in 2015 and 2016, under erstwhile managers Roberto Carlos and Gianluca Zambrotta respectively.