All 55,000 tickets have been snapped up for a blockbuster exhibition between football giants Brazil and Japan at the new Singapore National Stadium on Tuesday.
This is the first-ever sold-out event at the crown jewel of the billion-dollar Singapore Sports Hub, according to event promoter World Sport Group.
While all eyes will be on the likes of Brazilian golden boy Neymar and Blue Samurai heartthrob Keisuke Honda, it is the abysmal state of the National Stadium’s pitch that threatens to upset the show.
A Reuters report on Friday said the “appalling” playing surface “seemed to have as much sand on it as grass, and was cut up in several areas”.
The S$800,000 pitch, a hybrid of natural grass and artificial fibres, is reportedly so “poor” that both countries may not trot out their biggest stars at the risk of injury.
Last Thursday, the Football Association of Singapore gave the go-ahead for the friendly match but added that “the condition of the field is far short of expected international playing standards, which could affect the standard of play".
The National Stadium’s pitch has come under heavy scrutiny ever since its first major event back in August, when a Singapore selection played host to Italian club Juventus.
Stars like Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal were not fielded by the Serie A champions due to similar concerns over the condition of the playing surface.
A likely reason is the high volume of public events that have been and continue to be scheduled for the National Stadium, said the Reuters story.