Goa is going to be the first State in India to have a hybrid pitch. “FIFA is preparing a hybrid pitch at Fatorda stadium for the U-17 Women's World Cup at its own cost,” Ajay Gaude, Executive Director of Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) told Gomantak Times.
“A hybrid pitch is a pitch wherein natural grass is amalgamated with astroturf. FIFA got a machine that was preparing a similar pitch in Qatar for the World Cup over there,” disclosed Gaude.
“It is costing us something over Rs two crore to prepare the pitch. FIFA has had a longstanding association with football in Goa, which is being looked at as the hub for hosting football matches, so the decision is not surprising,” stated a source, assisting FIFA in the conduct of the FIA World Cup in Goa now and in 2017.
The FIFA World Cup matches will be played at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda and the stadiums in Bambolim, Vasco, Benaulim and Utorda have been earmarked as practice stadiums.
“SAG is handing over the Bambolim stadium to FIFA today and the remaining stadiums are being handed over tomorrow,” disclosed Gaude. “ The grounds of all the stadiums were handed over to FIFA for maintenance whilst SAG was responsible for the upkeep of the infrastructure at all the stadiums,” added Ajay Gaude.
“Everything is in place. The toilets, changing rooms and all other infrastructure work are ready. The FIFA team is to arrive today and we are formally handing over charge of all the stadiums to them,” disclosed Ajay Gaude.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup matches in Goa start on October 11 and the Government of Goa is hosting the inauguration ceremony on October 10 at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium.
“Goa has so much to offer. Apart from having good football grounds, the people are nice and easy to work with. Work is fun here,” stated a FIFA official who has been involved with other football-related projects in the past.
“A hybrid pitch does not leave many opportunities for patches which can be injurious to players. The idea is to provide the best playing surface,” stated the source.
Goa will be hosting 16 matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup which includes two semifinals. Goa, Bhubaneswar and Navi Mumbai are the three locations selected to host the tournament.
Goa had hosted Group C and some knock-out matches of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Group C consisted of Germany, Iran, Costa Rica and New Guinea. Vinicius jr who is currently donning Real Madrid colours played in Goa for Brazil during the 2017 World Cup.
Goa hosts Group B of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup which consists of Germany, Nigeria, Chile and New Zealand. Chile plays New Zealand in the first match scheduled for 4.30 pm.
Spain is the defending champion having won their first title in 2018.