Fake it to make it at Ole’s field

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo sup­plied

May­oral ap­proval: Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett looks over plans with Ole’s Nate Winkel and and Dave Wil­son.

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