Seven Cook Islands groundskeepers furthered their knowledge on how to improve and maintain natural grass pitches during a two-day quality workshop at the CIFA Complex, Matavera.
The seminar was the first of its kind in Oceania, introducing the FIFA Pitch Quality Kit and how to assess a field using this equipment, according to Cook Island News.
At the helm of the workshop was facilitator and pitch consultant Dr. Marke Jennings-Temple from STRI in Australia.
CIFA president Lee Harmon said: “Training players and coaches is important, but looking after what they play on is even more important.”
During the seminar the groundskeepers gained further background on natural grass maintenance and how to best practice methods such as; fertilising, irrigation, aeration, seeding, sprigging and renovation, using different machines and tools available to them here in the Cook Islands.
The course also included hands-on outdoor sessions where the participants learned how to use the Pitch Quality Kit through assessing the CIFA’s top pitch.
This session was a new learning experience for the groundskeepers and for BCI National Stadium’s field maintenance manager, Makirau Haurua, it was an eye-opening experiment.
“I never knew there were tools of such that existed,” he said.
“The kit will be very beneficial in the upkeep of our pitch at the stadium.”
Participants included CIFA turf manager Edwin Browne and his assistants Anthony Samuela and Lai Gukisuva, Avatiu field groundsman Martin Mitchell, BCI National Stadium field maintenance manager Haurua and his assistant Christopher Tangatakino, as well as Arorangi FC President Junior Areai.
“We don’t get opportunities like this here in the Cook Islands and I think for Marke to come here and share with us his experience and knowledge we are very lucky,” Browne said.
“In the short amount of time we’ve had with Marke I have learned a lot of new things that could help with maintaining our grounds here at CIFA.”