Over the weekend, footballers enjoyed an improved and enhanced facility at Wildey. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
It took six long months, but the wait was finally over as fans and patrons descended last Sunday evening for the reopening of the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Wildey Turf.
BFA’s general secretary Edwyn Wood, in an exclusive interview with MIDWEEK SPORT after the evening’s event, said he was proud that one of the association’s dreams had finally come to fruition.
“This is a really good feeling for us at the BFA to be able to offer the fans, and especially the players, this kind of environment for the game of football. The process for this project started way back in 2013-2014, and it has finally materialised. Tonight is very special, not only for me, but for the president Mr [Randy] Harris and the executive board,” he said proudly.
Last October the first phase of refurbishment works began on the facility, to install new lighting and bleachers, after FIFA approved $1.2 million and $1.1 million, respectively, for the project. Both projects were managed by Mahy-Ridley-Hazzard Engineers Ltd., with the bleachers having been supplied by Sports Systems Canada, the base constructed by C. O. Williams Construction, and the lighting done by Musco Lighting of the US.
The lights were installed and fully functional since January. However, the erection of the three sets of bleachers, which could accommodate 1 645 fans, was delayed coming out of Canada and rescheduled from the original install date to February.
“C.O. Williams will be back this week to wrap up some minor works still to be completed. While the project was ongoing, we thought it made sense to get some other related works done at the same time. There is a draining system for the field which was put in to channel the water away from the field. A new service road which now serves as the entrance to the facility, and a car park for the disabled were built. We also extended the eastern perimeter fencing back by about 20 feet from its original position, and built a new ticket booth and security scanning area,” he explained, adding that while the northern side still remains closed, it is set to be reopened with terraced seating for those who prefer the mount.
The veteran coach and footballer added that it took a team effort to get the facility in order for the opening, and every person on the project played a significant role in its achievement.
“We have to thank all the persons who worked tirelessly to make this a reality in meeting the April 1 deadline. The construction guys from C.O. Williams, Wayne Hunte and Cable Solutions, the carpenters, Rommel Jones and his crew, Everton “John-Wayne” Keizer, Ian Wiltshire and his guys who built the ticket booth in record time, the fencing guys and landscapers. I can’t forget the guys from Next Generation Electrical, Sports Systems Canada and Musco Lighting,” he said.
However, this is not the end for the enhancements at the Turf as they continue to enhance their facility for the betterment of the game.
“The BFA will be looking to start the construction of its grand stand as soon as possible. This three-storey stand will take up the western side of the facility and will seat approximately 3 000 people, and will have all the modern amenities of a grand stand. The tendering process for that work has already begun. I can’t say at this time how long it will take to construct, but that will see an even greater transformation of this facility,” he ensured. (RA)