Stadium plans on track

Soccer fans had learned about the change of venue on last minutes and they had to follow the match to Newlands Stadium in Green Point. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku
Soccer fans had learned about the change of venue on last minutes and they had to follow the match to Newlands Stadium in Green Point. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

The management of Cape Town Stadium has promised soccer fans the pitch will be ready for the Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) match scheduled for Sunday 22 September.

The announcement came after the game between Cape Town City (CTC) and Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday 27 August had to be moved to Newlands Stadium due to the condition of Cape Town Stadium’s pitch.

Lesley de Reuck, Cape Town Stadium’s chief executive officer, is certain the pitch will be ready for Sunday’s match between CTC and Golden Arrows Football Club.

He says management is as distraught as soccer fans who expected to watch the CTC and Kaizer Chiefs game at the stadium.

This would have been the first match at the stadium after the completion of the cyclical pitch maintenance work, which began in May this year.

“We apologise to everyone affected. We will continue our efforts to bring the pitch up to Fifa standards. We are immensely disappointed as we have worked tirelessly to get the pitch up to standard.”

De Reuck says due to lower than average temperatures, the grass took longer to grow. The slower growth resulted in the “root system not knitting or binding as well as it should have”, which raised concerns about the match-readiness of the pitch.

“The sudden and erratic directional change of pressure on the surface of the pitch could result in a player losing their footing, which could cause an injury.

“On Wednesday 21 August, CTC chairman John Comitis examined the pitch with senior club officials and local soccer star Teko Modise.

“After close inspection, which included kicking a ball around, we were all satisfied that the pitch would be match-ready by Tuesday 27 August,” De Reuck says.

PSL’s chief operations officer, Prof Ronnie Schloss, deemed the pitch was not match-ready.

A traction test was conducted before Tuesday’s game, which indicated that two spots on the northern side of the pitch were below the required measurement (of 25Nm²) at the time.

Comitis says he has advised stadium management to start maintenance work “earlier to avoid such situations (in future)”.

He says matters between CTC and the stadium management have been resolved and that the stadium will be ready for the next game.

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