News National Pitch perfect? Nope. Socceroos stadium a shocker

Pitch perfect? Nope. Socceroos stadium a shocker

Twitter / Pablo Bateson
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The Socceroos will face Kyrgyzstan at a “dilapidated” stadium on a “rather bumpy” pitch in the post-soviet state’s capital Bishkek under lights that broadcasters doubt will shine bright enough for their cameras.

On top of the conditions, the game will be played at 8pm – midnight in Australia.

The Australian side, playing for a likely win to help them into the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia, has been training in the 40-degree heat of Dubai before it arrived in Kyrgyzstan on Monday.

The Pitch

Images posted in the past two days show the run-down Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, nicknamed Spartak, in Bishkek with seats covered in bird droppings, a brown and patchy goal square and debris littering the areas around the ground.

According to journalist Janek Speight, who travelled to Bishkek to report on the game for The Roar, “it’s in a dilapidated state but the Football Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic has worked hard to improve the facilities with limited notice, including installing new flood lights,” he wrote.

The pitch was also described as “rather bumpy” by journalist Huw Bonello, reporting for Fox Sports.

‘Let’s not get too precious’

Coach Ange Postecoglou has urged the Socceroos not to be distracted by opening their World Cup campaign on a dodgy, pockmarked pitch, AAP reported.

But Postecoglou said the pitch was just another obstacle for his Socceroos to overcome in their first meeting with the Kyrgyzs.

“Let’s not get too precious,” Postecoglou said.

“We’ll have a run on it, but it is what it is. We will deal with what we need to deal with.

“From what I understand they have worked pretty hard to get it up to speed so it’s not like they haven’t tried.”

The stadium has only hosted two internationals before – in 2013 and 1992.

Hitting the lights

The newly built lights at Spartak have not been tested for broadcast, and given the time the game will be played, 8pm Kyrgyzstan time, lights will be essential. They’ve been used for the first time for a training session on Monday, the AAP reported.

Fairfax Media has reported that FFA officials are concerned about blackouts, and wanted the game moved to 6pm, but Kyrgyz organisers refused.

“The FFA are concerned about the quality of the new lights that have been installed at the Dolen Omurzakov Stadium,” Fairfax reported.

Unlike other international Socceroos games such as in Oman where the team played in 45 degree heat, the temperature in Bishkek is predicted to decline from 28 to 23 degrees from 6pm to 9pm on Wednesday.

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