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Astroturf inexperience a major setback for Thais, Indonesians
17th Southeast Asian Games
     


While the Republic has had the good fortune of having finally secured an astroturf pitch at Delta Sports Complex, its counterparts from Thailand and Indonesia continue to lament the absence of this important facility.


The lack of an artificial turf to train on - this once-familiar complaint of Singapore is now being bandied by the Thais and the Indonesians. While the Republic has had the good fortune of having finally secured an astroturf pitch at Delta Sports Complex, its counterparts from Thailand and Indonesia continue to lament the absence of this important facility.

Ironically, when Singapore faces the Thais and Indonesians, what used to be the Republic's disadvantage will now be translated into a distinct "homeground" advantage.

Said Kittipong Pithaya, 48, the Thai women's coach: "Our team is fit but our experience on turf is minimal.

"I've asked the government for such a stadium many times but to no avail. We'll be hosting the next Games. Hopefully, we should get a turf by then."

Pithaya disclosed that the team trained for a week on the astroturf at Kelantan in April to help the team get accustomed to playing on a different surface.

"Luckily we managed to get sponsors. Our manager and three businessmen arranged for the team to benefit from this important stint," he added.

"We play very well on grass but on turf, Singapore has the upper hand of course."

Indonesia is the other disadvantaged side.

Said its manager Aning: "Most of my players are undergrads and this is their first international competition.

"To make it more difficult for them, this will also be their first time playing on artificial turf."

Both officials felt Malaysia and Singapore would start as favourites in both the men's and women's competitions.


"Singapore and Malaysia have impressive line-ups. We've only been training for the past two months," said Kittipong Pithaya.



"Singapore and Malaysia have impressive line-ups. We've only been training for the past two months," said Pithaya.

Said Aning: "We are only used to playing at club level. But we will try our best."
     

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