“It’s a nice pitch, but a lot of work needs to be done,” said Sunil Kumar, the Aeronautical Development Establishment defender.
ADE played the first match of the State ‘A’ Division League against Bangalore Mars, a match that ended in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
The centre of attention was not the match, though; it was the pitch. “It is just too hard. I think one needs to play at least 25 matches before it settles down and plays well,” one of Bangalore Mars’ stand-out players, U Babu, said. “There are good things about it, of course, because you get to play good football on this pitch. But right now, because of the rubber that is sticking out, it is really heavy and you need to put in a lot of effort. The pitch is just really energy sapping,” added Sunil.
“The other problem is the heat it is generating. It is just too hot on the surface and because of that, our boots have opened up,” the former ITI player went on.
ADE manager A Arokia Raj confirmed that they had at least five recently purchased boots completely open up during the course of the match.
The second match of the day saw Students Union comfortably beat Royals 3-0. Students Union defender Lewis felt keeping the pitch damp was necessary to prevent it from heating up too much.
“Most of the artificial pitches I have played in, the pitch is a little damp before the match starts. Here, it is bone-dry, so you have so much heat coming through that it gets really hard to play,” he said. “Our goalkeeper had to change his boots after just 20 minutes or so, because it opened up. But this is the way forward, because you get to play good football. It is just that it needs to be watered regularly to keep the heat down.”
Results: ADE: 1 (Gnana Prakash 38th) drew Bangalore Mars: 1 (S Kumar 77th); Students Union: 3 (John 13th, Phillips 38th, Abubakar 46th) bt Royals: 0.