SA’s first artificial soccer pitch unveiled

September 16, 2008

Following on from an earlier blog post about artificial pictures, here is an article about one of the many new pitches to be rolled in the lead up to 2010.

South Africa’s first artificial soccer pitch was unveiled on Sunday as South Africa’s under 17 team took on their Zimbabwean counterparts in a thrilling international friendly.  Situated in the township of Edendale in Msunduzi, Pietermaritzburg, the FNB Wadley Stadium is the first in a number of artificial pitches being constructed by FNB in partnership with municipalities around the country.

The artificial pitches will be located primarily in non-host cities with the aim of ensuring that as many communities as possible benefit from South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Speaking at the unveiling of the pitch shortly before kick-off, FNB Chairman Sizwe Nxasana said: “The benefits and pleasure to be derived from the 2010 FIFA World Cup should be shared among the ‘have-nots’ as well as the ‘haves’, among communities in places such as Umtata and Kimberly where we are going to roll out more artificial pitches.”

“To us in Pietermaritzburg, the FNB Wadley Stadium is what Orlando Stadium is to the people of Soweto,” said Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo. “We are very proud that the people of Pietermaritzburg will experience the benefits of FIFA World Cup long before kick-off on 11 June 2010.”

Tim Modise of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising said his organization was delighted with the opening of the FNB Wadley Stadium as it was part of their objective to see the 2010 FIFA World Cup leave a lasting legacy.

Despite South Africa’s 2 – 1 loss against Zimbabwe, players from both teams had nothing but praise for the artificial turf.

“It was very slippery because of the rain but I’d rather play on it that on a normal grass field,” said Ajax Cape Town defender Jermaine Bowers.

“It’s flat and even and when you pass the ball it seems much quicker. I prefer it that way,” he explained.

South Africa-born Zimbabwean striker Matthew Rusike concurred with the defender,”It’s a very nice surface and it helped both sides to play a flowing game. If you make a crap pass it’s not because the pitch is bumpy, it’s because you did it,” he joked.

“This field is level and flat and definitely gives players the advantage to play carpet football,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and would like to play on this kind of surface again.”

Source :


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