Ebi Egbe, MoniMichelle CEO, has revealed why most African players struggle to make landmarks in Europe particularly Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) players mostly at the initial stage of their first few months in the clubs citing it to un-familiar footballing environment, quality in pitches aiding ball movement and performances.
Firstly, he began with the analysis of the pitch, “there are different grades of synthetic grass, the 100% rubber synthetic grass is bad, in some countries, they have actually banned them, the synthetic turf pitches that we do is classified as hybrid synthetic turfs approved by FIFA, our fields are 100% organic, our grasses have been manufactured without led, in-fill is plant-based like manure, so the ball movement on our playing surface is the same as a properly manicured natural turf with zero adverse effect on the players, so we are installing 21ist century synthetic turf.”
“It all depends on the quality of artificial turf that you are installing, while do you think that in Nigeria, we have quarterly baked players, why can’t they leave NPFL and go straight to the English Premier League, why is it that our players go to African countries, smaller countries before they make their way to other countries like France, and from there move on to the premier league. The ball behavior, the synthetic turf pitch that we are installing is similar to what any player will go and play on when they go for trial. If they play on a football pitch and go for trail, the player will not make it. The ball movement on the 100% rubber pitch is different from 100% natural grass. The grasses abroad are close to zero undulated but rubber fields are undulated, the ball movements are totally different, undulated pitches. The pitches that we are installing are pitches that will improve football in Nigeria.”
“On hybrid synthetic turf, we introduce what we call shock resistance, it’s an innovative system that has a shock pad, if there is a heavy storm, the ball can still move, not all synthetic tough pitches are bad, the hybrid synthetic turf pitches are the senior brother of the 100% rubber pitch that we have in place. You can ask the end user of those that played in the U-12 Enyimba, it feels natural, looks natural in terms of ball movement feels natural. At times, it doesn’t even look like they play on synthetic grass, most of our players have not played on my turf before,” he allayed.
“The 100% rubber field in Nigeria is the last grade of football playing turf classified by FIFA as synthetic. Our pitches are 100% organic because our grasses have been manufactured without led, you must understand that the whole idea is ball movement, making sure that we look after athletes safety, that’s our motor in Monimicheele, athlete’s safety comes first.”
“By the grace of God, after the pandemic, am pretty sure that government will be able to bring ex-international players to Onikan stadium and also play any of these national games at Onikan stadium. Then you will see what most players will tell you, some don’t even know how to play on synthetic pitch. We are lucky to have monimichelle in Nigeria because we have a lot of it here. In other African countries, they don’t even have it because they call me when they come to Enyimba turf to play, it’s a turf they haven’t seen before, and they get excited,” he ended.