Ground not ready ! Nehru Stadium to miss soccer events
By our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, Jan 31: Assam government today landed in a piquant situation after it emerged that the ground at the Nehru Stadium was not yet ready for holding the SAF Games football event. The renovation works was being carried out by the Sports Authority of Assam.
Official sources said SAF Games authorities who inspected the ground today expressed dissatisfaction at the progress of work.
The sources said that a decision to shift the venue to the SAI Field at Paltan Bazar will soon be taken, with just four days to go for the mega event.
The renovation work of the Nehru Stadium and RG Baruah Sports Complex is going on under the supervision of the Sports Authority of Assam. Although other preparations are on track, the ground at the Nehru Stadium is still in a bad shape.
“Right now it seems impossible to hold prelimiry round matches of the SAF Games there. Although the two hosts cities got a very short time to start the preparations for the 12th SAF Games, Sports Authority of Assam has gone for a major renovation of the ground, inviting a whole lot of troubles,” said a source from organizing committee.
The size of the newly renovated ground is already a matter of discussion among some former players and coaches, as the level of the turf is much higher than the origil ground level, the players will face serious problems near the side line like corner kick, throw-in etc.
On the other hand, there are many areas on the ground where grass is yet to grow and players will face a lot of problems if match is held on this ground.
A top-level team of the organizing committee today visited Nehru Stadium for the fil round of inspection of the preparations of the ground. However, the progress of works could not satisfy them and the plan to change the venue came thereafter.
A source from the organizing committee, on condition of anonymity , said, “It’s almost fil. The soccer venue will be shifted from Nehru stadium to SAI Field at Paltan Bazar. Prelimiry matches of the tourment will now be held there.”
However, the ground at the SAI Sports Complex too is not up to mark. The complex is not well equipped to organize such intertiol events as there is no proper sitting facilities for the spectators. Nor are there any permanent dressing rooms for players and media gallery. The complex lacks proper parking facility as well. Preparations are going on in a warfooting to make the ground and the entire venue ready for the first match.
It may be mentioned here that six countries-- India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan -- will take part in the men’s football event. The iugural match will be on February 6 between India and Sri Lanka. It was earlier decided that six league matches of the men’s soccer championship will be held at the Nehru Stadium while Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium will be the venue of the knock-out matches.
Meanwhile Indian soccer team today arrived in the city. The side will do its first training session at the Sarusajai stadium tomorrow morning.