Okowa May Settle for Geo-tech Pitch at Stephen Keshi Stadium 

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Ifeanyi Okowa

There are strong indications that Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, may direct the Delta State Sports Commission to regrass the Stephen Keshi Stadium turf in Asaba in a bid to address concerns raised by teams that have played at the natural grass arena, most especially the Super Eagles.

Since the commissioning of the stadium, some high profile games have been played there with the biggest being the Aiteo Cup final game that involved Rangers and Kano Pillars.

The NFF had after the Aiteo Cup final taken the Nigeria versus Uganda international friendly to the edifice, with Super Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, and his players complaining about the turf which they described as more of a “rice field”.

The stadium is billed again to host the Nigeria versus Seychelles AFCON 2019 qualifier in March as well as Nigeria versus Egypt friendly.

However, a decent source disclosed at the weekend that Gov. Okowa has been briefed on the concerns raised by Rohr and Super Eagles players, a situation that is making him tinker with the idea of going for a geo-tech pitch that would be topnotch.

“As we speak, Gov Okowa is toying with the idea of going for artificial turf if that would be the best option. He doesn’t want a situation where the Super Eagles would be complaining about the pitch of the stadium now that the NFF is making the place the new home of the team.

“This same pitch challenge is what is making the NFF take the Eagles to different venues across the country. The Governor may however seek NFF’s input to arrive at a final decision,” the source hinted on telephone from Asaba.

It was further learnt that Okowa is also impressed with the accolades the pitch at the Enyimba Stadium in Aba is getting from clubs and may settle for that kind of edifice.

Clubs that played in Aba at the just concluded NNL Super 8 were in cloud nine over the state of the Enyimba Stadium pitch which they declared is the best in the country.

The Enyimba Stadium turf was built by a Nigerian indigenous firm Monimichelle Sports Construction Limited. The firm also constructed the Samson Siasia Stadium turf in Yenagoa that hosted the Aiteo Cup Women’s final.

It is generally believed that with the difficulties stadium managers in the country are facing in maintaining natural grass turfs, the best option is now the high breed geo-tech pitches that have both CAF and FIFA approvals.