The state of the playing surface at the Estadio Mario Kempes has been the topic of much discussion over the past two weeks ahead of hosting Argentina’s World Cup qualifier with Bolivia on Tuesday. Despite the Argentine Football Association’s (AFA) assurances that the turf had been repaired, new photos suggest that it is far from the standard expected of an important international fixture.
Less than 48 hours prior to Lionel Messi and the Argentina squad hosting Bolivia in Córdoba, the pitch still appears in a poor state if the footage filmed by a local newspaper’s drone over the weekend is anything to go by.
Following a concert by Iron Maiden, a clásico between Talleres de Córdoba and Instituto and a home match for Belgrano against Vélez Sarsfield the pitch was left in a dreadful condition less than two weeks before the scheduled World Cup qualifier. When photos of the patchy surface emerged, work began almost immediately to try and relay parts of the turf and prepare it for the national team.
Further photos of the pitch were banned by the authorities as they continued their work and the AFA released updated photos to allay any fears.
— Selección Argentina (@Argentina) March 27, 2016
However, Córdaba newspaper La Voz del Interior released it’s own images on Sunday filmed with a drone that suggest the AFA’s photos were a little misleading. The video footage shows a large section of the playing surface still more sand than grass.
— Goal Argentina (@GoalArgentina) March 27, 2016
The decision to take the national team to Córdoba was one that was addressed by Gerardo Martino during a press conference in the week when he admitted that La Selección have greater support in the provinces as the people in Buenos Aires and Rosario identify much more with their club sides.
This maybe true but if the pitch is as bad as it looks, then it could seriously hinder La Albiceleste and prevent them from reaching their best.