MINOO FERNANDES |NT
BENAULIM: Work at the SAG ground in Vadi, Benaulim is going on in full swing to meet the requirements mandated by AFC and FIFA for the AFC Cup in Goa in September and the U-17 World Cup in 2017. As such, locals are unable to use the facility.
Though the ground had a new look when the Lusofonia games were held -with almost all facilities available – additional refurbishment work is on to meet the AFC deadlines.
“We have increased the area of the ground, given an additional height to the fencing, new drainages are being built, besides building an additional well and a huge water tank, doob grass will be layed, plus four high masts with LUX bulbs having 300 output capacity will be erected, so as to give the teams facilities to practice in the late evenings,” disclosed SAG Chief Engineer Chimulkar.
“The ground will be handed over to AIFF on August 10 and it will be with them till the end of September,” added Chimulkar .
“Rs 2.2 crorer was spent to refurbish the ground in Benaulim. The place now meets all FIFA standards,” added Chimulkar.
“The ground is for the locals and can be used by them once we get the grounds back from AIFF. If we allow the locals to play right now, the special quality doob grass will get destroyed and AIFF will not be able to hand over the same to AFC for their tournament. But, for sure there will be no restrictions for locals to use the ground once we get it back,” stated Chimulkar.
“There is a MOU between AIFF and the SAG and the ground is given on priority basis to AIFF,” said Tony Cabral, who is the manager of training facilities for AIFF. His work is to get the schedule of the training concerning the AIFF matches, including the practice matches.
“There is heavy booking for this ground. Everybody can’t get this ground,” said Tony Cabral when asked why locals cannot use this ground. He added that after practice session are over, the ground is cleaned. The SAG is doing a very good job, he stated. “It is one of the best grounds available” he said.
“Prior to starting work on refurbishing the ground it was used by Goa Football Development Council (GFDC), if the ground is given to GFDC, the locals too should be allowed to use the ground,” stated a villager.
GFDC member Liberata Mascarenhas disclosed that presently GFDC is using the Auxiluim grounds.