Sunday, 26 April 2015

OPINION: "Lighting and transport in Ba need to be improved to cater for soccer crowds", by Henry Dyer.

We attended the final Saturday match of the Oceania Champions League in Ba and we watched some excellent soccer where FC Gaitcha of Vanuatu beat the New Caledonia team 7-1 while later on Ba won 2-0 against its Samoan opponent. The ground is like a cathedral and a really sacred place for soccer fans from all over Fiji. It is a great spectator experience at Govind Park especially on a cold and fine night like this night was. However, Fiji Football and Ba Town Council need to improve the match-day experience for the traveling hardcore fans once they leave the great stadium itself. The road leading away from the ground is very badly lit at night all the way up to the Queens Highway and footpaths are missing in some sections. Furthermore, after big night games, you must be lucky to get transport back to Lautoka. This night around 30 traveling supporters had to wait in the darkness on the main road in front of the BBQ stand to try to get transport. We were fortunate that a big taxi stopped and charged supporters $3 each to get back to Lautoka. About eleven people jumped in to fill the taxi but others were left stranded. Minibuses have stopped operating by 8pm and the last express bus leaves Ba at 10pm. However, to get the express bus, you first have to make it into Ba town-centre which is over 1km away in the opposite direction from Lautoka. Ba Council and Fiji Football should make sure that transport is waiting to take the hardcore fans back to Lautoka after night matches in Ba or people will be left stranded in Ba overnight which will not be pleasant. Another issue is that on rainy nights, such as the Tuesday night games in Ba in the Oceania Champions League, the grassy area behind the goal at the northern end and the area under the grandstand on the western side (the side near the three toilet blocks) get very muddy. It would be better if concrete terraces could be built behind the northern end goal (in front of the scoreboard) or at least add pebbles in these two areas so that there is not so much mud to fall and slide into [by Henry Dyer and Kieran James, 27/4/2015].

Henry Dyer (former Nadi, Lautoka, and Fiji rep) @ Govind Park main entrance.
This area behind the northern end goal gets very muddy and slippery on rainy days and we suggest it should be replaced by concrete terracing or at the very least pebbles. The mud can be seen very clearly in this picture and it covers the whole behind-goal area from corner-post to corner-post and from inner fence to outer fence.
The northern end goal viewed from the grandstand on the western side @ Govind Park. This day was fine but on rainy days the area behind the northern end goal (between the inner and outer fences) gets very muddy and should be replaced by concrete terracing.
Ba Soccer Crazy Town, we Salute You!
Henry Dyer (left) and Kieran James @ The Central Club, Ba following a Ba versus Lautoka national league match, late 2014.
Henry Dyer @ The Central Club in Ba.
This picture shows Knights Stadium, home of Melbourne Knights FC, in Sunshine North, Melbourne. Terracing such as that seen here on two sides of the ground could be used behind both goals at Govind Park.
Kieran James and Henry Dyer (second and third from left in top row) with Fiji Football President Mr Rajesh Patel (second from left, seated) and friends @ The Central Club, Ba, late 2014.

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