Stadium still best, says Mia
Another high-ranking officer of the LIME Pelican Challenge has issued their support of the return to Waterford.
Despite public concerns over the state of the field, tournament director Mia Mottley is fully in support of taking the semi-professional league back to the National Stadium from Kensington Oval, calling the Waterford venue the best spot to host football.
Mottley made the comments during Friday’s press conference at the Stadium lounge where sponsors LIME handed over the winners’ purse of $100 000.
“This is my constituency and therefore I feel a special affinity to this facility, but in any event it is the home of football,” said the Member of Parliament. “And the one comment we got from fans last year at Kensington is ‘When are you coming back to the Stadium?’.
“People feel more comfortable at the Stadium, there is a greater proximity to the game so there is an easier chance for the buzz to take hold of you during the games, and because we are having triple headers it means that you really get a packed evening of entertainment,” she added.
Mottley’s strong show of support for the venue comes less than a month after fellow director and Barbados Football Association president Randy Harris declared that the remodelled field would be ready to host the tournament.
An inside source close to the redevelopment of the Stadium pitch had earlier knocked the National Sports Council (NSC) for allowing the Challenge to be staged at the venue after reasoning the field would not be able to handle such heavy traffic.
According to the source, the field needed six months to a year for the grass to re-establish itself in the damaged areas and also to have “a continuous set of new growth coming on”.
Some players have since complained about the uneven nature of the pitch and a number of dry patches during tournament play. Mottley said she had heard no such criticisms though she acknowledged that the field was not in the best of condition.
“Do we put everything on pause waiting for ideal circumstances to come? No we don’t, but I think the Sports Council has done a very good job in the interim that it is good enough to accommodate our needs at the moment,” she said.
“Does the Government have the capacity to be able to spend the kind of money to redo the whole facility? Probably not at this stage, but I think it is something that has to be a priority because the truth is the new economy is based on sports and cultural industries and I have a personal vision for this part of the constituency that I hope to make a reality.”
“[But] it is my hope that Barbados will have a top-class Stadium eventually. Is that a possibility in these tight fiscal times? Probably not,” she added.