Team ensures training fields meet Fifa standards

2010-04-26 00:00

IT appears that all of the Fifa 2010 World Cup stadiums will be ready in time to provide the stage for the globe’s finest footballers to shine on in just over a month.

However, Len Ludick and his team are still working hard to ensure that the designated training grounds for the tournament meet the high expectations set by the timely completion of the 10 stadiums around the country.

Ludick is the project manager for Turftek’s 2010 World Cup contract, which has seen him and his team lay down pitches all around the country, including the original pitch at the Moses Mabhida stadium.

Turftek is also responsible for the turfs being laid at World Cup training facilities in the midlands and Durban, including Michaelhouse, Crawford College, Northlands, Princess Magogo and Sugar Ray Xulu stadiums.

The Witness spoke to Ludick and site manager Lucky Modise while they were at Michaelhouse preparing the training pitch that will be used by the Paraguayan national team.

The turf appears to be in an immaculate condition.

Ludick explained that preparing the Michaelhouse ground requires a lot of hard work.

“When we got here in February, there were two cricket pitches on the ground, which was also extremely unlevel,” he said.

Initially Ludick and Modise had to survey the entire area, drawing up a design as they went along.

Then they had to remove 50 mm from the surface of the entire field so that it could be levelled, before working on the sub-surfacing. This involved setting irrigation sprinklers into the surface and employing an adequate drainage system.

The ground then underwent a sand-capping process to establish its growing medium.

About four weeks ago, after all these procedures had been carried out, the grass was planted.

“We have used a cool-season grass called perennial ryegrass,on all of the fields,” Ludick said.

“This grass was requested by Fifa and the playing surface you see here is the same playing surface you will see at every stadium and every training facility in the country.”

Fifa decided that the playing surfaces should be the same at every venue.

They agreed on a specific grass that they believe will be conducive to quality football in the South African winter, and then ordered that all training facilities and match venues use the same seed.



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