Margao (Goa) [India], September 30 (ANI): FIFA worked in tandem with the Goa government to give India its first hybrid pitch which will be used for the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
Goa becomes India's first state to get a hybrid pitch. The international football committee bore all the costs of the project and brought in experts from England to complete the project.
Thomas Alcock of SIS grass who has completed projects like these across the globe came with his crew and a special machine that was brought in from Holland via a container to facilitate this project.
Thomas spoke to ANI and stated the use and benefits of using the hybrid pitch.
"It improves the safety of the field and allows it to be used for more hours. With the FIFA tournament coming here, it's the perfect solution to enable you to play lots of games on one stadium pitch safely," said Thomas.
Thomas acknowledged that this is the first-of-its-kind installation in India and his maiden project in India.
"Yes, this is the first hybrid installation in India. We have installed it in countries worldwide but this is the first one in India," said Thomas.
"We manufacture it ourselves in Holland. We transport it here in a container. It comes to the field and we insert a polyethylene yarn down to a 180 mm depth on 2 cm spacing. This is what reinforces the field," explained Thomas.
Thomas shed light on the work that he does all year round and mentioned the previous work that he had done which was quite impressive.
"We do around 50 pitches a year all around the world. UK, Italy, France, Spain and now India. Costa Rica also for FIFA, Qatar also for FIFA, US, Mexico, China, and Japan everywhere. We have a partner in India here, which is Abhay over here. So we are looking to do more in India. We have a machine that is able to do the same process as this on a cricket pitch as well as football," said Thomas.
The Englishman explained the work that goes into reinforcing the field and the duration it takes to make a pitch hybrid and added, "We are really privileged to be here, good to be here. Proud to be part of this project. Very nice stadium, The pitch is good and will get better with what we are doing to the ground. It's usually a 10-day process that goes 24 hours in two 12-hour shifts."
Nandini Arora, FIFA project director was at the stadium overseeing the work to ensure everything is in place for the marquee event. The official spoke with ANI and marked India getting its first hybrid pitch as a remarkable achievement.
"India's first-ever hybrid pitch that is being installed by FIFA at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa. This is going to be a lasting legacy for the first-ever FIFA women's tournament that is being held in India. Matter of pride for us that it is happening here. We have maximum number of matches in Goa, so we wanted the pitch to be sustainable and stronger so this is one reason. We are looking forward to great matches now," said Arora.
Nandini also talked about the strong connection of football with Goa and the popularity it holds among the citizens of Goa, mentioning that Goa's connection with football is ancient.
"So basically football and Goa go a really long way back. Looking at the popularity of football in Goa we obviously wanted Goa to be a part of this U17 Women's World Cup. Since we have maximum number of matches in Goa, we wanted more to rely on the pitch. There are back-to-back matches if you look at the schedule so that was the idea to reinforce this hybrid pitch in Goa so that even if we have that many matches there is no issue. FIFA proposed and the Goa govt supported it and here we are," said Arora thanking the state government.
Earlier AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran on Thursday met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to discuss Bhubaneswar's preparation as one of the locations for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022.
The Indian team is slated to play all their group matches at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. The host nation has been drawn in Group A along with Brazil, Morocco and USA. The other two venues for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 are Goa and Navi Mumbai.
India is focused on the growth of women's football and the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup India 2022 will expedite its progress as the nation prepares for its biggest football carnival. With the best players in the U-17 category from around the world making their way to India from October 11 to October 30, the people of the nation will have a chance to witness a very high level of competitive football. (ANI)