Fake it to make it at Ole’s field
Ole Football Academy will unveil its new artificial turf next month, with one of New Zealand’s finest-ever cricketers a silent partner in the company that built it.
Daniel Vettori was on hand last week when representatives from FieldTurf spoke to Porirua City Council about the new football ground, being built for Ole at their site in the old Porirua Hospital grounds.
Ole’s chairman Dave Wilson said the turf, which met FIFA standards, would be available for community use and take pressure off grass pitches and Te Rauparaha Arena.
‘‘We did a lot of research and FieldTurf are world leaders in this industry. We want it to be looked at as one of the foremost grounds in New Zealand.’’
The turf will be a standard-sized football ground with space for warm-ups. Construction began in early January and is expected to be finished in the first two weeks of March.
It cost nearly $1 million and will need $30,000 a year to maintain.
The academy’s director Nate Winkel said it was exciting not just for Ole but for Porirua’s young footballers.
‘‘It’s going to be a boost for the sport here, getting more football for more kids. This is something that can be used 24-7 and there is a huge need considering the number of games in this region that are cancelled [during winter].’’
FieldTurf has built more than 9000 pitches worldwide, mostly in North America and Western Europe.
Vettori told Kapi-Mana News the site visit was an opportunity to see that side of the business.
‘‘For me, the inability to train in bad weather means you can miss out on so much, it’s especially bad for kids because you can affect the skill levels that you need to develop.’’
Vettori said the Ole set-up and strategy was impressive and the new turf would enhance their pulling power.
Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett said the unveiling next month would be exciting for the city and hoped it would spur on the Ascot Park project. Though no council money was involved in the Ole pitch, he said there were solid lessons to be learnt.
‘‘FieldTurf are competitive in terms of cost and what the maintenance is and I’ll be talking to the Synthetic Sportsfield Trust [overseeing Ascot Park’s project] about this, I’m quite optimistic,’’ he said.
‘‘Hopefully Ascot Park will move ahead as planned this year and we can, like Ole, get a product for Porirua that will improve what’s on offer for our young people.’’
Wilson said a third artificial turf should be investigated, to be sited at Porirua Park.
Mayoral approval: Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett looks over plans with Ole’s Nate Winkel and and Dave Wilson.