Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know how iconic the Salt Lake Stadium is. If you don’t, brush up your GK with our quick rundown on what makes this Kolkata landmark awesome.
The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, popularly known as the Salt Lake Stadium, is of gigantic proportions. Built in 1984, the capacity of the stadium was a whopping 120,000 and was touted as the largest football stadium in the world back then. After the opening of Rungrado May Day Stadium in 1989, it became the second largest. The current spectator capacity stands at 85,000 after the stadium underwent a makeover before hosting the U-17 Fifa World Cup. Bucket seats were installed, dressing rooms redesigned, dry and wet washrooms separated and a brand new-natural grass turf was installed in place of the older artificial turf.
The love of football in Kolkata made sure that the stadium was jam-packed for every big game. But on 13th of July, 1997 it was jam-packed and more! For the Federation Cup semi finals between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan around 132,000 people turned up (highest attendance ever!) Bhaichung Bhutia scored a hattrick and led East Bengal to win the match 4-1.
Although the Salt Lake Stadium has been the Mecca of Indian football, it has also hosted few of the most iconic international football players. You obviously remember the farewell match of German legend Oliver Kahn when Bayern Munich demolished Mohun Bagan (3-0). Then again, in 2011, when the ‘God of Football’ descended on Kolkata, you saw Lionel Messi in action at the stadium. Nostalgic much?