Rains affect AAG football matches

With rains reducing the Lal Bahadur football ground to a sub-standard venue, players are unhappy playing in such unsafe conditions.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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If there is one sport at the Afro-Asian Games that is at the complete mercy of the Rain God, it is football. With heavy downpour reducing the Lal Bahadur football ground from an international class venue to a sub-standard ground, players are unhappy playing in such unsafe conditions. "You do not get to play your natural game. It becomes very heavy and you know it is going to be more physical and a more tough game,'' says Baichung Bhutia, Captain, Indian football team. For the groundsmen, it has been a round-the-clock job to dry the ground. "Water is an issue and unless the sky clears out, the ground is difficult to play. Even if play is held for a game or two, then subsequent plays will be difficult because the ground will get damaged in the process,'' explains Pradip Ganu, curator. Officials who were apprehensive that the football competition may get completely washed out say they are pleased the matches are being played. "Whether a ground is playable or not cannot be decided by All-India Football Federation. It will be decided by the match commissioner and the visiting technical officials of Asian Football Confederation who are from outside India. If they agree the match can take off, we have to start,'' says P R Deshmukh, President, AIFF. With the weatherman predicting more rain over the weekend, football it seems will continue to be a damp affair.