Bhubaneswar: The city of Bhubaneswar was abuzz with excitement as the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023 kicked off at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today. This is the first time the Indian National Football team is playing in Odisha.
On this momentous occasion, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met India and Mongolia teams during the line-up and conveyed his best wishes. AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran also graced the occasion.
Expressing his happiness over the organisation of Hero Cup in Bhubaneswar the Chief Minister said, “It delights me to see Odisha once again welcome a marquee football event at the iconic Kalinga Stadium. This exemplifies Odisha’s dedication to establishing itself as a prominent football hub in India. I am confident that the participating international teams will have a remarkable experience competing at this venue. Football enthusiasts from Odisha will have the opportunity to witness an exceptional display of the sport.”
Footballers from Odisha have an opportunity to watch and learn from their idols, he added.
Chief Minister assured the AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey of full support for the development of football. Chaubey thanked the Chief Minister for hosting the championship and appreciated the state government’s role in football development in Odisha.
Odisha has been investing in football development over the last few years. The FIFA under 17 women’s world cup was successfully organised in October 2022. Kalinga Stadium has been the host venue for various national level tournaments and leagues like the ISL, IWL and Super Cup. The National Youth teams (Under 18 and 16 years) are based on Bhubaneswar with the support of the Odisha government.