State of National Stadium pitch for Japan-Brazil friendly draws flak online

Workers maintain the pitch after a soccer training by Brazil's national team ahead of their friendly soccer match against Japan in Singapore October 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Workers maintain the pitch after a soccer training by Brazil's national team ahead of their friendly soccer match against Japan in Singapore October 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The state of the National Stadium pitch for Tuesday's Japan-Brazil football friendly was a hot topic among media outlets on Monday and fans as well, as the words Sports Hub trended on Twitter locally too.

Brazil coach Dunga was critical, saying the pitch contained more sand than grass.

The Straits Times asked readers on Facebook what impression this has given the watching sports world. Here are some replies from this thread that has already reached more than 185,000 users and seen more than 220 comments as of midday on Tuesday.

ST reader Khairul Iqram wrote: "Billion dollar stadium but lousy pitch. It's like having a Ferrari body with a Chery QQ engine..."

Another reader, Han Ali, said: "Management needs to go. Concerned only about organizing concerts. Build a $1.98 Billion Football Stadium. Focused on everything EXCEPT the football field. EPIC Fail."

Anthony Kan added: "What a shame! all those talks about world class facility cannot get the basics right."

Emma Krish said: "What to do...that's the in thing now here. Shopping Centres before even complete they allow people to walk in with some shops opened. Like in Bedok near the interchange. Scary lor...now stadium pitch also more sandy than grassy....must call Beijing 101 or Yunam to help with their magic potion!!"

Reader Tong Bn added to the comments thread: "Nothing was improved since this issue was raised in the previous football games months back. We need results, not showcasing the high tech ways we have to make grass grows. Ended up with a big foot in the mouth."

Stephen Chew warned: "Neymar may not play because of lousy pitch...how are the organisers going to explain this to the 55,000 spectators who paid top dollar?"

Another reader Kim Foong Foo said: "So anxious to earn money back for all that was put in to build this even though field not ready yet. This is so embarrassing, SG Sports Hub! First impression lasts, esp bad ones and this will spread far and wide! What were you thinking, inviting big guns here when you are not ready??!"

And finally, reader Trina Liu remarked about the upcoming tournament for South-east Asian footballing nations at the end of the year: "Next up the AFF Suzuki cup, how?"

Meanwhile, Singapore footballer Baihakki Khaizan expressed his disappointment in the new arena and said he missed the old National Stadium. "You're different now. And I'm not convinced by how you're behaving now. You don't seem to know your priorities anymore, and I don't see how new stars will be born in you again," he said on his Instagram page. 

 

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Hey you, you look prettier now, and people just can't stop talking about you, can they? Yeah, it's you I'm talking about, Miss billion-dollar National Stadium. You're all fancy these days, with all the bells and whistles, but I remember the plain you, and they are wonderful memories. We won championships on the platform you provided, I became a Lion on your lawn. Hey, you made many legendary Lions who inspired the young me, and roused the nation. And not just Lions, C Kunalan, James Wong, Glory Barnabas, all names that shine form our sporting past shone on your lap. Let's not forget all the National Days we celebrated on your hallowed ground – a sacred battlefield for everyone that wore our flag. You're different now. And I'm not convinced by how you're behaving now. You don't seem to know your priorities anymore, and I don't see how new stars will be born in you again. You've sold out, haven't you? You're more about money, moving in a direction I don't understand. Honestly, I miss the old you. #nationalstadium #stadiumforconcerts #$$$

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Another player, Khairul Amri, has also criticised the management of the new National Stadium. He tweeted: