INDEPENDENCE Park Limited (IPL) is facing a race against time to ensure the football field at the National Stadium is ready for an inspection by world governing body FIFA, next Tuesday, September 4.
The officials will arrive in the island on September 3 to conduct their customary pre-match tour ahead of the big CONCACAF Qualifier between Jamaica and the United States, scheduled for 7:00 pm on Friday, September 7.
The challenge facing IPL staff has been magnified by the recent staging of the Grand Independence Gala on August 6, and the several rehearsals which took place leading up to the event.
"The field has taken a pretty severe battering," said Delmanda Fisher, IPL's administrative manager. "Immediately following the conclusion of the Gala, we embarked on a rehabilitation programme to restore the field to enable us to meet FIFA's approval.
"Additionally," added Fisher, "both teams are allowed, by FIFA rules, to conduct at least one practice session at the match venue and we... will have to facilitate this. But it will make final preparations for the match itself even more difficult."
The field rehabilitation programme includes the planting of Bermuda grass seeds; the rolling and verti-cutting on a programmed basis; the importation and integration of turf from Sabina Park; watering and fertilisation.