Ferdie Neita shame
Overgrown grass, dilapidated spectator stands, and the appearance of a venue that has been left to rot best describes the current condition of what was once one of the island's most popular football venues - Ferdie Neita Sports Complex.
Situated in the community of Braeton in Portmore, St Catherine, the multi-sports facility is in dire need of assistance with clear signs that the ground is not being properly maintained.
The facility is the responsibility of top-flight title challengers Portmore United, and while the club's general manager, Clive Marshall, refused to give details about the venue when contacted yesterday, there have been calls for further dialogue and partnerships in order to improve the state of the venue.
Portmore United have been playing home fixtures away from their home ground for the last two seasons, adopting Prison Oval in Spanish Town, Wembley Centre of Excellence in Clarendon, and Juici Park, also in Clarendon, as their home venues over the period.
Marshall ignored the topic when contacted via telephone yesterday evening, arguing that the club's focus at this point is on their local and regional football ambitions.
"It is not necessary to talk about the ground now. We are approaching the end of the season and are in the Premier League semi-final and CFU (Caribbean Football Union) second-round competition. We should talk about those things, not a ground. We must put things into perspective," said Marshall, whose team still uses the Ferdie Neita field as a training ground in preparation for competitive games.
Councillor for the Braeton Division, Anthony Wint, said that the Portmore Municipality has, in the past, assisted the club in certain areas where the upkeep of the facility is concerned and that they will be looking to play a part in lifting the ground out of its current state.
"Through the municipality, we used to assist with water. We are in dialogue with the Portmore management in order to offer further assistance," Wint said.
NEEDS TO BE RESTORED
Vassell Walker, who acted as caretaker in the past, said that he wants to see the park restored to its former glory.
"We want to see it come back. When the park was been used for competitions, it was the best thing in Portmore. We want it to be ready as we are willing to work," Walker said.
Walker noted that former caretaker Junior Cooper, who managed the grounds from in the late 1980s, died a few years ago, and pointed out that he has since decided to take care of the park.
"When Mr Cooper got blind, I was his assistant. Since he died some five years ago, I took charge. But since Portmore stop playing matches here, the field is not properly maintained," Walker informed. "The field is idle as no competition is taking place there."
The 3,000-capacity venue was a prime location for football games in St Catherine and has hosted games at the local and international levels.