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Odisha FC To Clash With Goa

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Football Club (FC) is all set to take on FC Goa in their 15th match of the Indian Super League 23-24 at the Kalinga Football Stadium tomorrow.

With 30 points from their previous 14 games, Odisha FC stands proudly atop the league table, ready to defend their position against FC Goa, who are in second place with 27 points from 11 games.

The stage is set for a thrilling showdown, with fans expected to flock to the stadium in huge numbers to witness the action unfold. 

Riding high on the success of their recent exploits in the Kalinga Super Cup, which was hosted in Odisha, they entered the competition as champions and emerged as runners-up.

Following this, the Kalinga Warriors have registered two consecutive victories in the league, defeating Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC. Odisha FC carries a wave of momentum into this highly anticipated clash. Odisha FC recent successes can be drawn parallel to the overall growth of football in the region.

Buoyed by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s vision, Odisha has rapidly become the hub of football in India. The state has hosted numerous international competitions recently, including the Intercontinental Cup and the India vs Qatar FIFA AFC Qualifier. Odisha boasts premier football infrastructure, including Kalinga Stadium Arena, Capital Football Arena and Odisha Football Academy. 

Recently, the Chief Minister has also inaugurated the AIFF-FIFA Football Talent Academy in Bhubaneswar in the presence of Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA, Arsene Wenger.  The academy will serve the most promising youth footballers from across the country with a certain number of slots reserved for players from Odisha.

The infrastructure comprises six FIFA-certified pitches, featuring five natural grass fields and one synthetic turf, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities like LED floodlights and players’ changing rooms, designed to support aspiring footballers across genders in their training endeavours.

To promote Grassroots level football, the state has also commissioned FIFA Certified E License Coaching Camps so aspiring footballers can have the right guidance in their training. Bhubaneswar also serves as the base for the national U16 and U19 women’s teams.

Beyond coaching, competition and infrastructure Odisha has seen the growth of a robust football community and culture. The Juggernauts are one of the most active fan communities across the country consistently showing up in large numbers to support their team. In 2021, Juggernauts became the first Indian football supporters’ group to get into an international alliance with supporters’ group of a foreign club, Watford FC.

Odisha FC has access to the Kalinga and all the facilities along with sports science centre which is indicative of the State’s commitment to promoting football across genders.

Odisha is the only state with two teams in the IWL. Besides Odisha FC, who are also excelling in the ongoing season of the IWL 2023-24 with 5 victories in 6 matches, Sports Odisha also competes in the top tier tournament for women.

Notably, Sports Odisha is a completely state owned and sponsored team. Furthermore, as a testament to their efforts, the recently concluded National Games in Goa saw Odisha bag the coveted gold in women’s football.