Finally Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) stadium, at the Churchgate, next Wankhede Cricket Stadium, ready to be world class with new playing surface, flood lights, stands and other facilities. The work of laying down of new astroturf surface is nearing completion and within few weeks it will be available for competitive hockey.
It was the franchise-based World Series Hockey, which paved the way for new surface. The inaugural session of WSH (Feb 29-April 1) will be the first tournament to be played on the brand new surface. “All this has come about only because of the WSH. Mumbai (one of the eight WSH franchises) will be hosting seven matches here. Keeping in mind the urgency of the tournament we had to push to get the turf ready in time,” said MHA secretary, Gurbux Singh.
According to Olympian Joaquim Carvalho (Chief Coach Bhopal Nawabs in WSH and Former Coach of India), the turf will be one of the best its kind. “This turf and the venue (stands & other facilities included) will be world-class. However, the mammoth task would not have been possible without the support of the neighbouring Mumbai Cricket Association, that provide the much-needed financial aid for the turf (MHA had given off a portion of its north end to MCA to complete the revamp of the Wankhede Stadium for the 2011 World Cup) and Vijay Shirke of B G Shirke Construction Co, who volunteered to do the construction work for free and also agreed to pay for the new floodlights,” said Carvalho.
There will be a new electronic scoreboard, a stand for coaches to record videos, an improved VIP area and Wi-Fi systems among other facilities, but the stands will be only renovated for WSH because of shortage of time.
Four-time Olympian and former India captain Dhanraj Pillay said, “News of a new turf being finally laid at MHA comes as a huge relief. The Mumbai Hockey Super League has not been held for nearly a decade due to poor ground conditions. Now, I can’t wait to see fans fill up the new stands.”
Inputs from: mid-day.com and Shaibaz Patel