Pitch Perfect or Pitfall? FAM wary of Sheeran's impact

KUALA LUMPUR: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) is crossing its fingers, hoping the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) has taken notes on maintaining the National Stadium's pitch in Bukit Jalil after recent setbacks.

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, 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 Ed Sheeran's + - = ÷ x (Mathematics) Tour on Feb 24.

The Grammy-award-winning artist will also perform at Taiwan's Kaoshiung National Stadium (Feb 3), Thailand's Rajamangala Stadium (Feb 10), Singapore's National Stadium (Feb 16) and Indonesia's Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (Mar 2) — which are also venues for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.The Shereen concern comes just over a month before Harimau Malaya entertain Oman in a World Cup qualifier at the venue on March 26.

FAM has the option of hosting the World Cup qualifier at another venue if the National Stadium's pitch fails to meet the required standards.

FAM local competitions committee chairman Firdaus Mohamed hopes that the MSC has learned from past pitch-related issues.

"Our national team prefer to use their fortress (National Stadium) because it is their lucky turf," said Firdaus.

For the record, the national team have won 10 of their 12 home matches in Bukit Jalil.

"I will suggest hiring a pitch expert to inspect the National Stadium after the Sheeran concert to determine the next step.

"We have the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Terengganu and the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Johor as alternatives should anything happen."

The newly laid zeon zoysia grass pitch could not hold up during the Merdeka Tournament, while many players sustained injuries during last week's Malaysia Cup final between Johor Darul Ta'zim and Terengganu.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories