MAJOR rehabilitation work is currently under way on the National Stadium field ahead of the Reggae Boyz’s March 22 CONCACAF finalround qualifying fixture against Panama for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Independence Park Limited’s (IPL) General Manager Major Desmon Brown told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that preparation for the game began in the first week of December, just a few days after the 2012 Manning Cup final between St George’s College and Hydel High.
“A significant treatment was done on the bad grass (weeds)... If you look at it now, you will see a lot of brown spots Come (next) Monday, it is going to be resanded before we start a major fertilisation programme for the March game,” Brown said.
He said the gap between the last (schoolboy) game at the Stadium and the World Cup Qualifier was ideal as for the first time, it gave IPL adequate preparation period for the field.
“When you have this kind of major spraying programme, it takes about three months. So we need at least three to four months for the kind of work we have now. This is the first time we have had four months to do the work we are doing now,” the former army man stated.
In the past, there have been occasions when the sand-based field has been in less than stellar condition with as few as two weeks before a major outing.
Brown said it cost too much for upkeep and it did not spell economic sense to spend that kind of money if the property wasn’t earning.
“It costs nearly $150,000 per month to maintain and if I don’t have something I can’t spend (that) on it. Seventy per cent of what you put on it goes down the drain and I have to water it two to three times per week.
“If I don’t have games coming up, I can’t spend $150,000 with no income. Because I have continuous games now, we can work on it,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Brown said in preparation for the qualifying match, serious restrictions would be placed on the use of the surface, especially during this year’s ISSA GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Athletic Championships.
The meet has already been brought forward a week because of the match, and Brown said only the finals of the shot put event, which is usually staged on the grassy surface, will be allowed inside the Stadium during ‘Champs’.
The preliminaries will be held outside at the Stadium East field. All other field events, including the javelin and discus, will be allowed to take place inside, however.
“The discus and javelin don’t do any damage, but the shot put, because it is so heavy, makes holes in the field. We wouldn’t have enough time to repair it after ‘Champs’,” said Brown.
“In the shot put, it is only eight in the finals and we can manage that. We don’t want the people to win and they win in front of nobody (Stadium East). For me, I would prefer it outside because it is less work for me, but in terms of the athletes, we want them to be inside.”
He also noted that it costs a lot less to maintain the Stadium East, which have been used since the start of the 2012/2013 Red Stripe Premier League season as a home ground for Cavalier Football Club.
While he would not go into the specific figures of the arrangement between IPL and Cavalier, he revealed that the deal includes the club paying over a percentage of gate receipts as well as a fixed rate while being responsible for other things such as marking the field.