Up for a game of footie on fake grass?

01 October 2007

Footballers, say your final goodbyes to mud-sliding soccer sessions. UCT's getting a new soccer field and it's expected to be up-and-running by March next year.

A R10 million Astroturf, synthetic grass interspersed with plastic beads to break the fall, resting on a cushion of soft sand, will soon replace the worse-for-wear Kopano soccer field. Floodlights, to the same standard as the hockey field's, and refurbished stands, will also dress up the new pitch.

Currently UCT has 35 soccer teams, amounting to about 700 players, who have to make do with three fields. That's an incalculable number of studs trampling UCT's soccer turf annually. "It becomes overused quickly," says John Donald, director of sport.

"An artificial pitch has a lifespan of approximately 15 years and it requires little maintenance," he added. "The new pitch can be used more frequently."

It will also double up as a practice pitch for 2010 Soccer World Cup teams.

Why the new investment in soccer at UCT?

"Soccer has been identified by sports administration as an emerging sport," said John Critien, executive director of properties and services.

More students want to play footie.

"At the moment we are turning people away because we cannot accommodate more teams," Donald says.

"There is a misguided feeling that rugby is the flagship sport at UCT," Donald explains. "This is, however, not the case. Its (rugby) big alumni following is prepared to plough money into the club.

"We would like to assist soccer to become a flagship."

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