By Tony Edike, Enugu
…Turkey, New Zealand relocate to Calabar
Could the torrential rainfall that disrupted two matches of the ongoing Under 17 World Cup tournament at Enugu Center on Wednesday be the handiwork of the traditional rainmakers?Â This was the question on the lips of many spectators and officials of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) who were visibly disturbed by the development.
Some people feared that the downpour could be an act of sabotage by some traditionalists who may have tried to prove to the organizers of the international event that they could not just be ignored in such an important event.
Wednesdayâ€™s match between Burkana Faso and New Zealand which ended 1 â€“ 1 was disrupted for over two hours following endless downpour while the second match between Turkey and Costa Rica was halted by another round of heavy rains at the 20th minute.Â The rain was not just the problem but the flooding of the artificial turf which made smooth playing impossible.
Many attributed the flooding to poor work done by the contractor that handled the project and some experts said the turf was not properly laid while the drainage system was poorly constructed, leading to easy flooding of the rehabilitated pitch.
â€œYou can see that this pitch was not well fixed. It was easily flooded by the rain because the drains appeared to be non-functional otherwise the pitch would have dried up few minutes after the rain to enable the match proceed.
â€œI believe what happened was very abnormal because there was no sign of rain before the match began.Â Â The cloud darkened as soon as the first match kicked off.Â It was even more disturbing during the second match because after the first was concluded it became difficult for the second to commence.Â As soon as Turkey and Costa Rica entered the stadium the rain which had stopped for about twenty minutes during which the stadium was drained, resumed with higher intensity.
The suspended match between Turkey and Costa Rica was played yesterday with Turkey defeating Costa Rica 4 â€“ 1.Â Even though the match was ticket free as Wednesdayâ€™s ticket was admitted, many spectators stayed away.
Speaking at the end of the match, Costa Rica Coach, Diego Samuel, said even though they lost to Turkey they were hopeful of getting the much desired three points from Burkina Faso in their next match.
â€œI congratulate Turkey because you had a good match but it is time to recognize that thereâ€™s greater task ahead.Â Yesterday, when our team played Turkey for the first 20 minutes, even though Turkey was leading we had our team organized but today our team was unorganized.Â It was not so good.Â The substitution we did helped us.
We prepared ourselves to play hard games and we are going to try our best to beat our next opponents,Â Burkina Faso,â€ said Diego through a female interpreter.