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Sunday, June 26, 2011

India's 2014 World Cup qualifier may be shifted to Pune

The return leg India’s 2014 World Cup qualifier match against the UAE, which was supposed to be held next month in New Delhi, may be shifted to Pune.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced in May that the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue which was used for 2010 Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies, would host India’s home match on July 28. However, national team coach Armando Colaco wants the tie to be shifted to the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.India will be playing UAE in the two-legged qualifying tie on July 23 (Al Ain) and July 28.

“The pitch (at Balewadi) is wonderful. I understand that AIFF had a meeting with the sports ministry officials about Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium but I would be happy if we can get a chance to play in Pune. The crowd here is just great. We need this kind of support while we take on UAE in the World Cup qualifiers,” opined Colaco.

It is also learnt that the work to get the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in shape may take longer than expected, thus prompting the AIFF to look for an alternate venue. Chennai is the only other stadium in India that meets the criteria to host a World Cup qualifier match. When contacted, an AIFF official said a final decision will be taken next week.



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