01/05/2016 …. For those who cherish the nostalgic old days of watching top division football at the Bandodkar Stadium at Campal by the lilting setting of the setting sun across the Mandovi, there is good news. The Goa Government has paid heed to the demands of the Goa Football Association and all the football lovers across the state and through the Goa State Urban Development Authority is developing a brand new football stadium at the Campal Parade Ground.
It may be recalled that the erstwhile Campal Stadium was demolished to make way for parking during the first International Film Festival of India in November 2004. Following a public outcry, the then Chief minister Shri Manohar Parrikar had assured to build a new stadium meeting international standards. Due to various reasons, the stadium construction could not be taken up. Finally, with the laying of the foundation stone of the new Campal Stadium for football and parades on days of national importance, the stage is set for Panaji to boast of a FIFA compliant stadium of its own.
A short ceremony was held last Sunday morning to coincide with the World Labour Day to lay the foundation where the plaque was unveiled at the hands of the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Goa, Shri Laxmikant Parsekar, in the presence of Hon’ble Defence Minster, Government of India, Shri Manohar Parrikar and Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister, Shri Francisco D’Souza. Also present were Shri Siddharth Kunkolienkar, MLA Panaji, Shri Surendra Furtado, Mayor, Panaji CCP, Shri Elvis Gomes, Director of Urban Development, and councilors from the CCP.
Shri Laxmikant Parsekar, said that, “The Government had promised that a new stadium will be built, and we are happy to fulfil this promise. With the AFC U16 Tournament and the FIFA U17 World Cup, we will have a host of practice grounds and match venues which would be FIFA Compliant. This facility in Panaji will complement the existing facilities in the North like the GFA Duler Stadium, and the other stadiums and practice venues being developed in the South of Goa.”
Shri Manohar Parrikar was happy to state that, “The stadium facility will be built in 18 months and is in fulfillment of the requirement of such a sporting facility within the precincts of the city. Sports facilities created must be accessible to those who need it the most – the young and talented in Goa – for elite development as well as recreation. Stadiums and sports facilities are built for the public, and we hope that these will be used to hone the skills of the youth of Panaji and Goa.”
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Francisco D’Souza, whose department has taken up the project, stated, “We have taken care to ensure that the design of the Campal Football Stadium creates an intimate atmosphere that brings spectators close to the action and creates an energetic atmosphere for fans, by presenting an unobstructed view of the action. The Stadium provides opportunity for future expansion on temporary overlay to host larger events.”
The Director of Urban Development and the Member Secretary of the Goa State Urban Development Agency, Mr. Elvis Gomes, who is spearheading the execution, elaborating on the project stated that, “The new stadium, having 4500 seating capacity, and upgradable to another 4000, is being developed in consultation with Collage Design – the infrastructure consultants for the FIFA U17 World Cup in India next year. The design of the marquee venue reflects local architectural influences, recalling a proud past while serving as a bridge to a modern era. Inspiration for the main stadium design came from timeless local architecture and essential icons, from the palm trees to traditional wooden boats.”
Mr Gomes further added, “The project, the cost of which amounts to Rs 45 crore, will be executed in 6 phases over a period of 18 months, and will convert the existing area, which is a waste dump, into a stadium with high mast lighting, dedicated parking and office space.”
The Facilities in the Competition Area meet and exceed FIFA guidelines and include Two Players Locker Rooms, Referee Locker Rooms, Dining Areas, Gymnasium, Medical and Doping Control Rooms with ample circulation space providing a safe and secure environment for the Players and Officials. The sports lighting and controls meet FIFA standards for National and International Event with options for reduced lighting for regular use for practice.”
The Stadium has been planned such that the facility can be utilized all year for number of events, as a highly cost effective, safe and low maintenance facility. The long term plan is to provide support to the schools and residents in the city for their sporting needs. The current site is used as the Parade Ground, and the Parades are expected to continue at the new facility.
While concluding, Mr. Gomes added that the stadium will be a boon for city football clubs like Sporting Clube de Goa, Dempo Sports Club to host top class football and play before their fans.