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Oranje Liones rush to find new training ground for Women’s World Cup

The Dutch football association KNVB is scrambling to find another training ground three days before the first group stage match. Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. At the cricket ground in the coastal town of Tauranga, where the Oranje Liones have been training for the past few days, national coach Andries Jonker said it would be impossible to play 11-11 because of a “rock hard” plate under the grass, which upsets him.

The problem stems from the cricket field’s “pitch”, a narrow strip of a few square meters in the middle between the stumps. Beneath a specially prepared turf surface is a layer of hard compacted soil that provides a firm, even surface that influences the bounce and velocity of the cricket ball, which is vital to the game.

The team has already held three training sessions at this ‘dangerous’ cricket field. This was only possible because Jonker was “very adaptive” and did “other forms of training” without using the entire pitch. By doing this, I was able to avoid the “raised edge” and the “harder than artificial” grass area on top of it. “You can’t train there, you can’t,” Jonker said.

KNVB is investigating various alternative options. “We also checked six other locations in the neighborhood, but none of them met the requirements,” a spokeswoman said. The association also considered training in Hamilton, about an hour and a half drive from Tauranga base camp, on Friday. Another option was to leave early for Dunedin, where the first group game will be played on Sunday. Both options pose significant logistical challenges, so the decision was made to train at the cricket field again on Friday, a spokesperson said. The team will continue to train in Dunedin on Saturday as planned.

“At this stage, every coach wants to play 11-11. He was frustrated with how things were going, and spoke of “amateurism at its finest”, but said he’d also experienced “worse things”.

The inadequate cricket ground has been inspected on three different occasions in the last nine months by KNVB team managers. The hardness of the surface was pointed out every time, and FIFA promised a solution after every inspection. Mr Jonker said he was “very disappointed and very angry” that a solution had not arrived in time. “But the main question now is what else can we do, where else can we go,” Jonker said, stressing that FIFA is currently looking for all possible solutions.

The Netherlands will open their World Cup on July 23 against Portugal at Forsyth-Barr Stadium in New Zealand. Lewinen will face Portugal, Vietnam and the United States in Group E.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/07/20/oranje-lionesses-rush-find-new-training-ground-ahead-womens-world-cup Oranje Liones rush to find new training ground for Women’s World Cup

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