After the official draw on 25 March for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, delegations from nations participating in the competition conducted venue inspection visits of the host cities of Antalya, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Kayseri, Rize and Trabzon.
The delegations, who visited stadiums, training venues and team hotels in the various host cities, returned home completely satisfied with the results of their inspections. More detailed news about these visits, as well as comments made by delegation members after their inspections, follows below:
Representatives from two teams that will compete in Group E, Chile and England, visited the Akdeniz University Stadium, where they will be playing matches. During the inspections, where FIFA and Local Organising Committee (LOC) members were also present, emphasis was placed on the fact the stadium is completely ready for the tournament.
Speaking about her visit, the English FA’s Travel Manager Helen Scott had this to say: “It’s a nice stadium and we’re hoping to see a lot of foreign football fans turning up to the games, as Antalya is a tourist destination.”
Delegation members from Croatia, Uruguay and Uzbekistan inspected the Ataturk Stadium which will host matches in Group F, as well as the Ozluce and Vakıfkoy training venues. All the delegations gave their thanks for the hospitality they were shown in Bursa, while Uruguayan FA general secretary Rodolfo Chiola and La Celeste’s U-20 coach Juan Verzeri expressed their hope their talented youngsters can produce some very entertaining games for the football fans in Bursa.
For his part, Uzbekistan’s U-20 coach Musaev Akhmadjan said he was happy with conditions within the stadium, and added that he hoped the local fans would get behind his team during their group encounters. Meanwhile, Croatian FA general secretary Zlatko Nakic spoke of how Bursa’s reputation as a footballing city was well-known and that he was sure there would be a great atmosphere for all the group matches played there.
Representatives from Mexico, Paraguay and Greece came to Gaziantep, which will host matches in Group D, where they were welcomed by locals at the airport dressed in traditional region-specific clothing.
Mexico’s youth national team director Juan Carlos Ortega, as well as his Greece coach Kostas Tsanas and and Paraguay U-20 national team director Marco Roman respectively, all gave the LOC positive feedback on the facilities and training venues visited. What is more, Gaziantep LOC Venue Manager Timucin Kalender also took the opportunity to urge football fans in Gaziantep not to miss this great opportunity and to turn up in large numbers at the Kamil Ocak Stadium.
Officials from Spain and USA, along with delegations from Mali and Ghana who both have the possibility of being the group’s African Zone representatives, came to the Ali Sami Yen Arena, the venue that will host matches in Group A, for inspections.
The representatives were amazed by the stadium’s size, comfort and design and were all happy to be playing their World Cup matches in such a fascinating venue. Stating that they have been drawn in a very tough group, officials from Spain and USA added they expect the group matches to be very entertaining thanks in large part to the atmosphere generated in the stadium.
The Portuguese and Cuban delegations revealed positive impressions of both Kayseri and Kadir Has Stadium after their inspections of the city and venue. The stadium is set to host games in Group B, including the opening match.
Cuba U-20 coach Raul Gonzalez Triana revealed his squad’s excitement ahead of making their tournament bow, excitement levels he expects will be redoubled by the atmosphere within the stadium. Portugal U-20 coach Edgar Borges, meanwhile, said how happy his delegation were to see the high standard of the facilities, as well as how honoured they were to be playing their games in Kayseri.
Turkey U-20 national team administrator Tamer Gungor, his Australian and El Salvador counterparts Simon Roberts and Ernesto Gochez Martinez respectively, as well as Colombia U-20 coach Carlos Alberto Restrepo, all expressed their satisfaction on the conditions at the training venues and the Yeni Sehir Stadium after their inspection visits in Rize. Rize will host the Turkey-Colombia and El Salvador-Australia games in Group C.
Team officials, who were also offered a taste of the city’s famous local tea by local authority representatives in Rize, said they were looking forward to their games in the city and also sampling the area’s climate.
Representatives from host nation Turkey, Australia, El Salvador and Colombia also conducted inspections in Trabzon, which will host further games in Group C. Officials were unanimously impressed by the Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium, adding that the training facilities were advanced and the playing surface was perfect. They took the opportunity to send the message “See you in June!” to the local fans, while promising to put on entertaining matches for the Trabzon people.
Trabzon LOC venue manager Metin Kazancıoğlu confidently stated that the city was used to hosting such events, and thus was comfortably capable of organising matches in the group phase, knockout stages and semi-finals.
In addition, every team official present was given a replica shirt of the city’s leading football team, Trabzonspor, with the back of the shirt emblazoned with their country’s names and the No61 – the number plate code for Trabzon province.