And that’s three: steel plate again poses problems for the Dutch women’s team


How do you come up with that. For the third time in his preparation for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Andries Jonker has been confronted with a training field that does not meet the requirements of top football. After glass shards, stones, a field that felt like a rolled-up carpet, there is now ‘plate-gate’ again.

This time FIFA seems to be the culprit for the field fiasco. The world football association not only chooses the training locations of the 32 participating countries, it must also ensure a perfect field. In Tauranga, FIFA has gone horribly wrong.

Here’s the thing: the choice for a training ground in Tauranga had fallen on the Bay Oval cricket stadium. Enough space. And FIFA would make sure that the field would look like a billiard cloth. That is also the case, but exactly in the middle of the field the surface turns out to be dangerously hard. The reason: a large steel plate, measuring 25 by 30 metres.


And that plate must protect the pitches on which cricket will be played again in the New Zealand spring. It is the part of the pitch where the bowler throws his balls and the batsmen have to hit the balls away. The surface of the pitches is a special kind of turf, on which the ball has to bounce. Sacred ground for the local groundsman.

And that now appears to be causing problems. Sherida Spitse called it “annoying” during an online press conference. “This is not how we want to see it,” said the captain.


Boarding school

National coach Jonker is considering moving to another field again. Earlier in the preparation, a match in Escharen was canceled because there were shards of glass and stones on the field, while the top layer of the intended training field in Sydney had broken and the Orange had to head over heels for a boarding school to be able to train properly.

But yes, his selection will already board the plane to Dunedin on Saturday, for Sunday’s game against Portugal later. In addition: “I don’t know if the new accommodation has the same facilities.” But yes, Jonker and his selection seem forced to move again. Because: “It is not ideal, but even dangerous.” Captain Spitse: “We have to see how we are going to solve this now.”

Rugby field

It is hoped for the Orange that the farce with the fields will be resolved as soon as possible. But the next problem could just happen again. On Sunday, the Dutch national team will play in the bitterly cold Dunedin. The surface in the southernmost (indoor) stadium in the world: a rugby field.

The weather also seems to be an opponent of the football players in the coming days. It will snow in Dunedin from Thursday, while heavy rain is expected in Tauranga.


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