No 'perfect' pitch after Ed Sheeran show

KUALA LUMPUR: Will there be an "encore" of the Coldplay aftermath that blighted the pitch at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil?

That is the worrisome question on the minds of football officials and fans after the pitch looked "messed up" for last Friday's Malaysia Cup final between Johor Darul Ta'zim and Terengganu.

It even led to an apprehensive Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) issuing a statement, apologising to fans on the eve of the final for the field's condition.

It is reported that four-time Grammy Award-winner Ed Sheeran is set to perform in Bukit Jalil on Feb 24.

A superstar of Sheeran's stature can draw more than 80,000 fans. Imagine the impact on the yet-to-be fully grown zeon zoysia grass which is still recovering from the trampling/dancing feet of 75,000 people that went for Coldplay.

Should the Sheeran show take place, it will just be about a month before Harimau Malaya meet Oman in a World Cup qualifier at the same venue on March 26.

After Coldplay's concert two weeks before the Malaysia Cup final, the pitch at the National Stadium made headlines for the left-behind discordant brown patches that scarred it.

After getting an earful from irate football fans, the MSC will have just about a month to come up with a "game plan" to ensure that the pitch is in near perfect condition.

They will have to quickly do restorative work after Sheeran finishes singing "Perfect" and packs up.

But FAM need to get plan B ready in case the National Stadium's pitch is not up to international standards for a World Cup qualifier after the concert.

Venues like Sultan Ibrahim Stadium or Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium should be put on standby.

The pitch's conditions did cause some "casualties" during the Malaysia Cup final which was won 3-1 by JDT.

JDT coach Esteban Solari confirmed that his players, La'Vere Corbin Ong had a twisted ankle and Shane Lowry suffered a strained hamstring. Terengganu defender Ubaidullah picked up an injury too.

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