N96m Refurbished Abuja Stadium Pitch, A Colossal Waste -Keshi

Abuja Stadium pitch 1
Abuja Stadium pitch 2

*KESHI’S HEADACHE: Pictures don’t lie. This is the present state of the Abuja National Stadium pitch as at Thursday, 10 October, 2013. Coach Stephen Keshi says the pitch is too sandy for free flowing football. Exclusive photos by our Managing Editor, Tunde Oyedele who is currently in Abuja.

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi says the newly refurbished Abuja National Stadium pitch is only good for horse racing, saying the contractor who handled the project did more harm than good to the turf.

Eyeonthesports.com reports that the Abuja Stadium turf, which cost the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, the sum of N96 million, only looks green but not lush enough for good football.

Keshi, who spoke to eyeonthesports.com at the Eagles’ Bolton White Hotel camp in Abuja, said: “The renovation carried out on the pitch was not properly done. I think the contractor used sharp sand to fill the base and planted the grass on it”.

“We did not know it was like that before we opted to train on it, and the pitch is affecting our training because the players cannot move freely on it”.

Keshi’s outburst was a confirmation of an earlier comment by Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, the Chairman, House Committee on Sports, who claimed that the amount spent to refurbish the turf was outrageous.

When eyeonthesports.com took a closer look at the pitch (an exclusive photo attached), the pitch appears undulating, while the grass is not deep-rooted.

Despite the poor state of the Abuja turf, Keshi said his team will on Thursday (today) continue with their preparation for the crucial Brazil 2014 world Cup qualifier against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia with the focus to win in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, all the 23 invited players featured in Wednesday’s training held between 3:25 to 6:30pm. The latest arrivals; Newcastle of England’s Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Brown Ideye and Nosa Igiebor were given an extra fitness session by the team’s physical trainer.

The other players who took part in the training include; goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim, Chelsea of England star, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses of Liverpool, Turkey-based Godfrey Oboabona, Ogu, Ogenyi Onazi of Lazio, Francis, Sunday Mba amongst others.

By Tunde Oyedele, Abuja


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