Mbombela Stadium Manager Roelf Kotze says the reason the pitch has been unplayable is because of extreme bad weather
Posted: 31 January 2013 Time: 10:25 am
Mbombela Stadium Manager Roelf Kotze says the reason the pitch has been unplayable is because of extreme bad weather conditions in the area recently.
Located in Nelspruit, the stadium is in the spotlight after teams that played there during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations group stages slammed the "sandy" pitch.
Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor had some strong words last night on the state of the pitch, saying: "To be honest with you I'm very sorry but it's a disgrace for our continent to be playing on this pitch when it's on TV around the world."
KickOff.com contacted Kotze, who explained why the pitch is in a shocking state.
"We had 250 mm of rain on December 28 so there was an algae outbreak which is difficult to control chemically. Now, the problem is you can't treat that drastically with chemicals because you don't want to kill your grass," he says.
"So they had to use other methods by first of all mechanically trying to remove some of the algae by raking the pitch and secondly, by placing loose sand on the pitch so that dries off the algae. But just after that they had another 250 mm of rain so that made it 500 mm of rain over a short period. All of that contributed to the outbreak of algae," he says.
"So now the main concern that the players had after playing here was because of the loose sand on the pitch and the reason the sand was there was to try to contain the algae.
"So what has happened is that last night after the match [Togo vs. Tunisia], all the loose sand has been manually removed from the pitch to expose the grass up to the normal level," Kotze continues.
The next match at the stadium will be Togo against Burkina Faso on February 3 in the quarterfinals and Kotze has allayed fears that the pitch may still be unplayable.
"We are confident that [removing the sand] will strengthen the grass… They didn't have much time to do this because we had double headers, but because of the break now the pitch manager will now be able to present a much better pitch by Saturday.
"It is the same company that always works on the pitch and they are doing the best they can under the circumstances," he adds.