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HomeSouth African SoccerGavin Hunt joins criticism over subpar DStv Premiership pitches

Gavin Hunt joins criticism over subpar DStv Premiership pitches

SuperSport United have emerged as the latest critic of the state of pitches in the DStv Premiership, echoing concerns about the substandard quality of football fields in South Africa.

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In Friday night’s match, they overcame Cape Town City with a hard-fought 1-0 victory on the uneven terrain of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) pitch, which has faced excessive wear and tear due to the Women’s Varsity Football tournament.

The triumph propelled SuperSport United to the second spot on the league standings, accruing seven points from their first three matches.

Meanwhile, Cape Town City lie fourth with six points to their name.

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Following the contest, Gavin Hunt, Matsatsantsa’s coach, expressed his discontent with the state of the pitches, urging clubs to take greater responsibility for their upkeep.

“Upon assessing all the pitches, even Orlando Stadium has shown deterioration,” Hunt pointed out.

This comes as SuperSport United temporarily relocate their matches from the Lucas Moripe Stadium due to ongoing construction repairs.

“The clubs need to invest more effort because the pitch quality is far from satisfactory. The surfaces are rigid and unpredictable. As avid football viewers, we are privy to the pitches players are performing on,” Hunt stated.

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Expressing empathy towards the players who navigated these challenging conditions, Hunt remarked, “I empathise with those who have had to contend with this pitch. Playing four matches in a day for an entire week on this field (TUT Stadium) takes its toll. I briefed the players that they won’t experience the usual grass conditions, yet we adapted to the best of our abilities.”

Hunt also emphasised the broader repercussions of inadequate pitches on the overall football experience.

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“The quality of the game suffers, and when substantial investments are involved, it’s only natural to expect superior standards. Witnessing the ball ricochet unpredictably across the pitch is disheartening. We all yearn for a more exceptional display of football, and it’s a universal need for all pitches to be elevated.”

Despite his reservations about the pitch, Hunt lauded his team’s unwavering spirit, which led to their hard-earned victory. “In spite of the poor surface, our players displayed remarkable determination. The resilience they exhibited was truly commendable. Given the erratic bounce of the ball, playing conditions were formidable.

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“While there were moments of brilliance, we executed effectively up until the goal, at which point they capitalised on our inability to maintain possession and exploited gaps.”

Acknowledging the disparity in team stability, Hunt acknowledged the challenges United faced in comparison to Cape Town City: “Our opponents, Cape Town City, boast a cohesive unit with a consistent line-up, whereas we’re in the process of rebuilding. Losing approximately nine players necessitated a rebuilding phase, with just two loaned players amid a roster of our own. Club dynamics dictate that we undertake this annual reconstruction, even though continuity would result in a formidable line-up.”

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