Shillong, Sep 14: Today’s Shillong Premier League match between Malki and Shillong Lajong had to be abandoned before kick-off due to heavy rain in the city.

It’s been a difficult start to the second leg of SPL 2018, which is being held at the SSA Stadium.

After a comparatively dry August, September has seen plenty of rain fall on Shillong and the natural turf surface at the SSA Stadium appears to have very poor drainage compared to that of the artificial turf surface over at the neighbouring JN Stadium.

The very first match of the second leg, between Shillong Lajong and Nangkiew Irat demonstrated the ground’s flaws all too well, with fears for the condition of the pitch only strengthening in the next two games, where the players emerged at the end covered in mud.

Such was the amount of moisture in the pitch that players had to draw on any experience they might have had of playing on rough and tumble pitches in the past as ball control and quick passing became nigh impossible. Unsurprisingly all three games ended as draws.

TSR has heard some derisive comments in the first three matches about the state of the SSA Stadium pitch, with one well-respected coach saying it should be turned into a paddy field. One viewer also commented on our YouTube channel that it looks like a ground for bullfights. More seriously, a former official in the Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs expressed concern about the potential for injuries to players.

Rain is also expected for tomorrow, so we’ll have to wait and see whether we can have the scheduled match between Nangkiew Irat and Rangdajied United.

(TSR file photo)

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