Mumbai sporting reclamation

2012 was a mixed bag for city sport, Happy New Year 2013

Mumbai lags behind every other metro in the country in sporting infrastructure and rarely hosts events of note as a result, save cricket.

Imagine a global city without a decent football stadium or an athletics track or a multi-purpose indoor stadium to host badminton, basketball, boxing at the highest level.

A city with four well-maintained cricket fields falls back, sadly, in hosting venues for other sports.

However, there is hope 2013 will sprout a few landmarks.

Cooperage

The football fraternity erupted in joy when High Court gave the green signal to Western India Football Association (WIFA) in April 2011 to renovate Cooperage. The stadium also got an artificial turf and $2.5 million from FIFA, but the work has moved at a snail's pace. Consequently, the city has been devoid of top-flight football since, with I-League teams Air India and Mumbai FC playing home matches in Pune.

Several missed deadlines and unkept promises later, Cooperage will finally be ready for big-time football on January 8. While the date seems a touch unrealistic, good news is the stadium will be ready soon and hopefully host a few I-League matches as well.

U-17 World Cup host

While the city may not have hosted a local football match in nearly two years, it is set to be named among the six hosts for 2017 U-17 World Cup. An official announcement is expected at a FIFA executive committee meeting in March.

Hockey on new turf

Hockey has a new address in the city. It may not be a full-fledged stadium like Mumbai Hockey Association ground, but the artificial turf laid at SAI Centre in Kandivali sure scores. The work was completed in 2011 at an approximate cost of Rs 4 crore. However, the venue was made available for use only in 2012.

... contd.

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