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Kochi is ready to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup matches with infrastructure in place at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kerala Minister for Industries and Sports A C Moideen said here today. Giving details about preparations for the event, he said the FIFA authorities had expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made for the conduct of matches. Kerala also wanted to use the opportunity to showcase the state's tourism, he added. An amount of Rs. 47.33 crore had been spent for improving infrastructure facilities at the main venue and three practice grounds - Panampalli Nagar Sports Council Stadium, Maharajas College Stadium and Fort Kochi Stadium, the minister said. The state government in co-ordination with Sports Council had decided to accord a grand reception to the 'trophy' on its arrival at the Jawaharalal International Stadium on September 22. The 'trophy' would be taken to different educational institutions till September 24.
Also, a 'Torch Relay' would start from Kasargod led by former international player I M Vijayan and current player C K Vineeth. When it was pointed out that West Bengal government had made arrangements for 5,000 students to watch each match Kolkata was hosting, Moideen said the state government would try to do 'something' to accommodate students at concessional rates. Kochi would be hosting six qualifying matches, one pre-quarterfinal and one quarterfinal game of the tournament to be held from October 6 to 28. The preliminary matches to be held in Kochi are: Brazil vs Spain and South Korea vs Nigeria on Ocober 7, Spain vs Nigeria and South Korea vs Brzil on October 10 and Guinea vs Germany and Spain vs South Korea on October 13. The pre-quarterfinal would be played on October 18 and the quarterfinal on October 22.
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