Indian Football : Need for infrastructure Maintenance
An issue which I seem to see again and again at football stadiums and practice venues in India is the utter lack of maintenance and sometimes even the lack of knowledge on how to maintain a facility. It goes to that extend that certain basic steps like watering the ground are not done which is harming the players and in turn our football.
The other day I was following the training of a team in Kolkata. The concerned practice field had not been watered for three days, so it had become hard and the first players were limping off with niggles here and there. One of the groundsmen told the club officials that their team was training for too long, so it could not be watered plus a team was training before them and another side in the afternoon, so they could not water the pitch in the gap of the training hours.
It seemed an unresolveable problem, but a small financial incentive and the concerned person was suddenly up to the task the very next day ensuring that the ground was watered, but with leaks in the pipe and it being not long enough, he didn’t water the whole ground nor did he do it properly, which was more likely due to lack of knowledge.
Now coming to the Saltlake Stadium. People in Kolkata proudly say it is the second biggest football venue in the world with a capacity of 120,000. What they forget to say is that is a terrible venue for spectators, media and footballers. The artificial turf isn’t maintained properly, mainly due to lack of watering which will become a bigger issue once it gets really hot in Kolkata with the surface generating heat.
And the above is something I have seen numerous times over the years across India, so it isn’t a Kolkata specific problem nor is it something which people seem to learn. You can only expect better football with the right training facilities and match grounds plus fans will come to watch once they are offered properly seating, rest rooms and the chance to get something to eat & drink.