By Gracious Akujobi
Piqued by the hasty judgment passed by members of House of Representatives Committee on Sports on the recently re-grassed Abuja stadium pitch, the National Sports Commission (NSC) said the lawmakers spoke from an uninformed position.
The Director of Facilities at NSC, Shehu Ibrahim who conducted newsmen round the re-grassed pitch on Thursday said the water which took over the pitch shortly after rain last Wednesday could not be used as a yardstick to rubbish the effort of the contractor.
While inspecting the pitch on Wednesday as part of the sports committee’s oversight function, the chairman, Godfrey Gaiya had submitted that the job done by Julius Berger was unacceptable to his members.
The lawmakers particularly wondered why the pitch was still water-logged after spending about N97 million to re-grass, vowing to probe the execution of the project.
But, the NSC Director of Facilities, Ibrahim insisted the project met global and FIFA standards. He insisted that as far as those of them at the NSC were concerned, “the pitch met FIFA standard and any international match could be played on it. Like it is obtainable anywhere in the world, water cannot dry up the moment it drop on the pitch just like any other ground”
“The grass we have here is not synthetic but natural and anything natural needs nutrient to grow and part its nutrient is water. So I don’t see any reason why someone who does not understand how these things work will talk about it. We have drainage system that is built under the grass which drains the water itself”
“People should be patient because we still have six month maintenance contract with the contractor” he advised.
Also speaking in the same vein, Julius Berger project consultant, Anthony Agboni said the pitch was actually designed to retain water to improve standard.