Tournament director of the local organising committee for FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 Javier Ceppi addressed the unexpected decline in the sale of tickets in Phase III in Guwahati at a media interaction.

The city is lacking behind Kolkata and Kochi in terms of ticket sales after it exhausted its available inventory of tickets for Phase I and II.

“Ticket sales in Guwahati were extremely strong in Phase I and Phase II but have unexpectedly declined currently. Football is a religion in Guwahati and other parts of the Northeast India, and hence, we are not very worried about filling the stadium. The internet penetration in the city is good and we don’t see the online sale of tickets as a concern; however, fans just need a reminder for the best live football they are about to witness,” said Javier Ceppi.

The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, which can now accommodate 23,850 people, will host the likes of France, Japan, Mexico and Chile.

“It may seem to people that not too attractive teams are here, but let me tell you France has Amine Gouiri who was the top scorer of UEFA U-17 Championship with eight goals. He already plays in Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) for their senior team. Takefusa Kubo plays for Japan – he was the star of Barcelona youth system and is the youngest scorer in the J-League. We saw him last year in the AFC U-16 Championships, and he is an absolute phenomenon. He is bound to be the best Asian player ever. Such is the quality of the players coming in Guwahati for the games,” added Ceppi.

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Guwahati indeed has one of the best line-up of teams coming to India this October with traditional powerhouses France and Chile grouped with Asian giants Japan and Mexico, who won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011 and secured a second placed finish in 2013.

“I have spoken to the club presidents of Chile football clubs, who have produced the likes of Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo, Gary Medel and they were confident that their U-17 team is capable of beating the senior clubs in Chile. Mexico, as we all know, has an excellent reputation in the tournament and are a force to be reckoned with,” concluded Ceppi.

FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 kicks off on October 6.

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