A first look at the new National Stadium: 55000 seats and a state-of-the-art pitch
It's not entirely ready yet, with construction still going on within the cavernous structure, but what a sight it was as FourFourTwo got a first look at the new National Stadium.
We'd taken two buses into the depths of the huge stadium, through the unfinished main entrance lined with concrete and cement, before disembarking and heading out on to the pitch for the first time.
To say it took our breaths away would be a bit of a stretch at the moment, but you could see where all the months of planning and construction had gone. This is a stadium worth playing in, and you could almost imagine 55,000 roaring fans in red and white welcoming the Lions on to the hallowed pitch. It's almost enough to give you goosebumps.
The retractable roof was open, offering us a peek of the Singapore skyline, while the red and white seats stretched up high on both sides of us. In a month or two, Malaysia and then Juventus will visit in short succession. The stands will be rocking and the famous Kallang Roar will once reverbrate around this place.
But today, the focus is on the state-of-the-art pitch and the unique technology that will allow this arena to play host to football, rugby, cricket and athletics events for years to come. The Desso GrassMaster system has been successfully implemented in some of the biggest and most iconic stadiums in the world, but this is the first venue in all of Asia to make use of it. In this respect, Singapore is once again ahead of the game.
The pitch is a blend of two types of grass seeds - Rye and Blue Grass, held together by innovative fibre reinforcements that makes for a uniform, reliable and visually attractive surface in perfect conditions at all times. The numbers make for quite interesting math.
100% natural grass is injected with artificial fibres 18 centimetres deep, every two centimetres across the pitch. This results in natural grass roots growing around some 114 million protective fibres, anchoring the field and making sure that no unsightly and potentially dangerous divots appear during rough-and-tumble football or rugby matches.
It's a pitch fit for Singapore's new National Stadium and one which will hopefully be the envy of many of our sporting neighbours when they do visit.
"The pitch forms an integral part of the National Stadium and the Desso GrassMaster system truly does justice to one of the most innovative sports stadiums in the world," said SportsHub Pte Ltd CEO Collin Delavaud.
One person who's also looking forward to making use of the facilities is none other than Singapore National Team head coach Bernd Stange, who is set to lead the Lions out against Malaysia on 8 August.
"I am delighted with the standard of the turf at the new National Stadium, which is ideal for the quick-passing playing philosophy we have adopted for our National Teams," he said. "I am sure the players share our enthusiasm and hopes of playing matches regularly on this wonderful new pitch against top-level opponents. With the lush new pitch, and the spanking new hi-tech facilities, and a crowd of 55,000 cheering our Lions on, the atmosphere will be electric, and the experience will be magical, emotional and unforgettable."