TECHNICAL DIRECTOR of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Dion La Foucade described the future US$100,000 (T&T$680,000) new astroturf —to be constructed at the Police barracks in St James—as an exciting new project.
On Monday, Commissioner of Police (CoP) Gary Griffith revealed that the turf —to be supplied by world renowned synthetic surface manufacturers CCGrass—is scheduled to be completed by March.
Griffith said the turf would aid in revitalising participation numbers in sports like hockey, football and cricket.
Yesterday, La Foucade said that Griffith had already demonstrated “amazing support” to the senior men’s national football team by providing training access to the TTFA’s elite squad on the refurbished North Ground that borders Long Circular Road.
Last week, men’s senior team head coach Terry Fenwick also disclosed that the Commissioner had also provided transport and meals to his local training squad. “The field is in top shape and (CoP) has given Terry (Fenwick) and his players a wonderful facility for their preparation,” La Foucade noted.
“The development with the astroturf and the multi-purpose facility is only going to boost sport, football of course, included. More youth and high level players will be able to train on high quality surfaces which can only improve their overall development. Its an exciting project,” he added.
On Monday, Griffith also mentioned that the women’s junior and senior hockey squads—coached by Anthony “Bumpa” Marcano—had been utilising the North Ground for their preparations ahead of a May 6-16 Pan American Hockey Challenge in Lima, Peru, and the August 16-29 Junior Pan American Championship in Santiago, Chile.
For ‘Bumpa’, while the 3G astroturf is more suited to football than hockey at a high level, (compared with the water-based 2G astroturf planned for the National Hockey Centre in Tacarigua), the presence of the Barracks turf will still be a significant development for local sport.
“There are schools and universities abroad that use this surface due to the lower cost. My concern will be the height of the turf being used at the Barracks, with the rubber filling that is used the depth of the surface can play a significant part in the fluency of the game,” he pointed out, before countering, “Now, please don’t get me wrong, the introduction of a third synthetic surface into the country is a significant plus to sport on the whole. The location as well should yield some well needed interest back into sport especially with the location.
“Will we be able to host international competitions there? ...not sure, as the FIH (world governing body for hockey) will have to approve the facility for such. (Bit) The schools system and local sporting bodies should significantly benefit from this facility.”