Monday, November 29, 1999

Dutch, Japan training switched to save Durban pitch

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Netherlands and Japan had their traditional eve of match training sessions moved from the Moses Mabhida stadium on Friday because of concerns about the playing surface.The teams, who meet in their second Group E game on Saturday, were forced to train at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Kwamashu Township rather than at the new 62,000-seat area in the centre of Durban."We had a heavy rainstorm last night and we're just taking care of the pitch," Durban venue manager Bongi Hlope told Reuters."We have three excellent training pitches around the city and so we're using them to preserve the surface at the stadium."This will probably be the case for the remaining first round games and then we'll probably revert to the original plan from the round of 16."The Moses Mabhida stadium will also host the Nigeria-South Korea and Brazil-Portugal group games, one round of 16 tie and a semi-final.The arena has hosted two matches so far, Germany's 4-0 demolition of Australia and Switzerland's 1-0 upset of pre-tournament favourites Spain.(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ken Ferris)
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