WHEN CHENNAI CITY FC played their first game at their new home ground at Coimbatore, there was a storm of criticism about the pitch conditions.
The grass at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore, appeared to be worn out and parts of the pitch appeared to be bald.
Although the pictures of sharp objects on the pitch - which wnet viral were removed the day before the match against East Bengal - the field still appeared sub-par for a top division game. Visiting team East Bengal protested about it to the match referee, who allowed the game to proceed as planned; sending East Bengal fans online in a frenzy about the risk of playing on such a pitch. Now, with Chennai City set to play a series of home games in the near future, concerns about their pitch has come to the forefront again.
The Chennai City FC owner Rohit Ramesh, however, insists that the ground has seen vast improvement since that day. Speaking exclusively to TFG, he said,
"To be honest, I think in the there could be a 40% increase to how it was... it's been 18 years since any levelling of grass has been done there... unfortunately for some reason the leveller of grass, the roller, wasn't there, we lost a solid 48 hours in that."
Ramesh said that Chennai City have spent about Rs 3 crore in improving the infrastructure at Coimbatore, and they have re-laid the pitch with Bermuda grass that will vastly improve the playing surface.
And at a time when they were struggling to get things done due to short time at hand, the AIFF came forward to help them with the project. Ramesh said,
"I have to personally thank Mr Sunando [Dhar, I-League CEO] because he has put us on with one individual whose name is Abhay [Patankar], he's been advising our local people in Coimbatore... he was there with us for the last four days and he has advising us as to how we can make it better. We've been following his advice to ensure everything is done properly this time."
Chennai City FC have leased the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore for the next 5 years. They are simultaneously working on constructing a new stadium in Chennai, along with a sports complex, which will be the new long term home ground of Chennai City FC.
Ramesh discussed this issue, his team's performance and the long term vision the club is following in an exclusive interview with the TFG Indian Football Podcast. You can listen to the entire unedited interview right here...
Chennai City FC play NEROCA later tonight, and we can only hope the pitch looks much better than it did last time.
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