View Full Version : Coach Duncan decries use of artificial pitch at WAFU tourney

12th May 2011, 04:53 AM
COACH David Duncan of Ghana’s Black Stars believes the introduction of synthetic pitches into African football by the World Football governing body, FIFA, is an indirect way of killing the game in the continent.

Duncan’s opinion at a post match conference after his team defeated Togo 2-1 in Group B in the on-going WAFU Nations Cup in Abeokuta, was, however, countered by Ogun State Sports Commissioner, Bukola Olapade, who described the Ghanaian as an alarmist.

Ghana laboured to beat a more enterprising Togolese team 2-1, with Sadick Sumaila providing both goals for the Black Stars in the first Group B match on Sunday. The two teams will play again today to determine the group leader, as the two other countries listed in the group, Senegal and The Gambia, failed to show up for the tournament.

Duncan said in the post match conference that the future of Africa football is being destroyed by FIFA’s decision to ‘force’ synthetic pitches on the continent, adding: “If we continue to play our football on artificial turf, the future of the game is destroyed. Where in Europe do you see football being played on synthetic pitches? FIFA is in Europe and it is expected that such practice of playing football on synthetic pitches should first be introduced to countries in Europe.

“Apart from the fact that playing on synthetic pitches does not fit into African football, the turf itself is a big risk health wise to our players. The heat being generated from the materials used in producing the synthetic pitches is bad. Even when we play on natural grasses, we have to wait for evening because of the heat. So why is FIFA bringing synthetic pitches into African football?

“As I said, FIFA is in Europe and they should set such standard in Europe first before bringing it to Africa.”

However, Olopade does not see any sense in Duncan’s argument, saying: “The man (Duncan) is an alarmist and I want people to disregard what he is saying concerning synthetic pitches in Africa. FIFA said the reason for introducing synthetic pitches into Africa is to develop our football. Playing on synthetic pitches make the game fast and that is what FIFA is preaching. Look at the Togolese team and their fast pace on the pitch.

“Is this coach saying that he knows more than FIFA? The 2007 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which the Golden Eagles of Nigeria won in Korea was played on synthetic pitches. Even Ghana U-20 team played on synthetic pitches in Canada and got to the semifinal.

“Ever since Ghana came to Abeokuta for this WAFU Nations Cup competition, Coach Duncan has been looking for a way to cause confusion. He rejected four hotels the LOC provided for his team. If his team is not good enough for the trophy, Duncan should look for better excuses rather than fault our facilities. I don’t think that Ghana has better hotels than Nigeria. I have been to virtually all major cities in Ghana and I know what I am talking about.”

Credit: Raymond Yeboah (Arksports)