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How important is the football field to African football?

You can discover a young and gifted football player anywhere, whilst playing on the streets, in the park, on the school ground, at the beach, on any open field, rough or smooth.

Once there is enough space for the beautiful game to be played and enjoyed by children, on any kind of football surface, no matter how good or poor, raw talent can always shine through the process and barriers of discovery.

However, to take this raw talent to the next levels of development, some additional basic ingredients are needed. The most important is a higher-quality football ground.

In football, you cannot be the best that you can be and play at the highest level of football unless you are trained in facilities that make the impartation of the required skills, techniques, and strategies possible and meaningful.

You cannot also market football maximally unless it is covered properly by television. Meanwhile, the best coverage by television can only be achieved when the game is played on very good football fields. The higher the quality of the field, the better the quality of coverage.

That’s why Europe has invested and continues to invest, more than all others, heavily in research and providing the best playing surfaces – so that television can provide the highest dividends.

It cannot be just any grassy turf, artificial grass, hybrid, or any such imitation. The king of them all is natural grass, on flat ground, with good drainage and irrigation systems, managed by a team of dedicated, trained groundsmen and other hands working the field every day of every week, unfailingly, each equipped with the right tools and treating the field.

Three decades ago, Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, was destroyed by ignorant Nigerian administrators that never played football, and never appreciated what late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Premier of Western Nigeria had put on the ground in 1959 designed to remain start-of-the-art and functional for a hundred years.

Pretending to expand and modernize it, they destroyed it with untested technology. The same deterioration occurred in the relatively good pitches at the time in the Kaduna, Enugu, and Bauchi stadia.

Drawing attention to the bad and worsening state of football grounds all over Africa have been a major role.

Once again, it is important to know that one of the most important ingredients to develop young talents, to improve the quality to perform for the players, to watch for the spectators, and to market for the administrators, is the condition of the playing pitch.

Africans are very familiar with the matches all over European Club seen on television, week in, week out. The matches are delightful to watch principally because of the excellent surfaces they are played on that allow for excellent, very friendly, and entertaining television coverage.

So, the following questions are of interest:

1. Why is enough attention not paid to major football grounds in Africa?

2. Why is it difficult to appreciate how a good turf impacts the quality of the game?

3. What is difficult in understanding how a poor playing surface will make any tactical training impossible for a coach?

4. Why would a government spend billions of Naira building or renovating a stadium, and not pay full attention to the cheapest, simplest, but most important 'turf'?

The lack of good football grounds has become the biggest hindrance to football attaining the highest standards beyond where African football has plateaued.

Content created and supplied by: KeepItReal (via Opera News )



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