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Stephen Keshi Stadium: Okowa may settle for geo-tech pitch over Eagles complaints

George Aluo

There are strong indications that Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, might direct the Delta State Sports Commission to re grass the Stephen Keshi Stadium turf in a bid to address concerns raised by teams that have played at the natural grass arena, 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 boys 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.

A competent source disclosed that Governor Okowa has been briefed on the concerns raised by Rohr and his boys, a situation that is making him tinker with the idea of going for a geo tech pitch that would be top notch.

“As we speak, Governor 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 Super Eagles.

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“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,” our source said.

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

It would be noted that clubs that played in Aba at the just concluded NNL Super 8 were on cloud nine over the state of the Enyimba Stadium pitch which they declared is the best in the country.

The Enyimba Stadium turf, it would be noted, 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.

Analysts believe that with the difficulties stadium managers in the country face in maintaining natural grass turfs, the best option is to go for the high breed geo tech pitches which is both CAF and FIFA approved.