The PSL match between Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC has been moved to the Athlone Stadium as Cape Town Stadium pitch will not be ready. Photo: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – The Premier Soccer League (PSL) match between Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC, set to take place on Saturday, has been moved to the Athlone Stadium as the Cape Town Stadium pitch will not be ready. 

According to the City of Cape Town, this follows a traction test that was conducted on the Cape Town Stadium pitch on Monday. It found that the pitch was not match ready yet, following major corrective maintenance that was carried out over the past few months.

This maintenance forms part of a three-year cycle in order to ensure a world class pitch.

“It is important to note that the Cape Town Stadium hosted 36 events during the 2018/19 season. During this time, the pitch became compacted and slippery, hence the necessity for corrective maintenance to be conducted,” said Lesley de Reuck, chief executive for the Cape Town Stadium.

The maintenance process started on May 20, given that the period between mid-May to mid-August is traditionally quiet. The top 15 milimetres of the pitch was removed and a sand layer was brought in, compacted lightly and laser levelled.

It was found that additional Netlon, a subsurface netting that contributes to the stability of the pitch, also had to be added. The pitch was then fumigated and had to lay dormant for 21 days before the grass could be sown on June 20.

De Reuck said that due to three cold fronts in Cape Town over the past three weeks and subsequent lower than average temperatures, the stadium has been running growing lights 24/7 as well as adapting its fertilising programme with the aim to fast-track growth to the grass.

“We gave it as much time as possible as we wanted the grass to grow and strengthen. Unfortunately, the grass has not knitted sufficiently and can pose a danger to the players. Thus, the difficult decision was made to move the match to the Athlone Stadium,” De Reuck said.

African News Agency (ANA)