Kolkata: The Salt Lake Stadium has been a venue that has hosted quite a few historic football matches. The likes of Lionel Messi, Alessandro Del Piero, Oliver Kahn and countless others have graced the turf of this venue in the past.
Well versed with being packed to the rafters for every big day, the majestic venue which received a facelift for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup is once again expected to house more than 66,000 people.
One of the most iconic games that the stadium has seen was in 1997 – the famous Kolkata Derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan which saw more than a lakh make their presence felt.
Julio Cardoso, a Goan who loves his football and now lives in Kuwait very fondly remembers that match even though he watched it on TV. Having watched more than a few games in Goa and in the English Premier League, he is admittedly excited about making his stadium debut in the City of Joy.
"I have never watched a match at the Salt Lake Stadium and I can’t wait for the final to kick off. In preparation, I have bought myself an England jersey and in my mind they are unstoppable in this tournament,” he says.
Cardoso’s excitement is clearly visible as he points out that he is getting goose bumps just recounting that day.
His friend Fidelis Fernandes, a trade finance head with KWT Steel has also travelled to Kolkata for the final and can’t hide the disappointment about the fact that Brazil is not part of the summit clash.
"Whenever the Indian Super League happens in Goa I try to make it. I did watch some of the matches on TV, especially in Kolkata and the crowd has been excellent. I have been a Brazil fan since 1974. It would have been nice to see them play the second game of the day."
"What we expect to see on October 28 is the Kolkata crowd turn up in full force and make the ambience great. We don’t know if we will get to see another World Cup final in India."
"We booked our tickets in May, and irrespective of the teams in the final, we would not miss this day," signs off Fernandes.