Football club City Pirates Antwerp and Sporting A have inaugurated the artificial turf field and the new canteen with changing rooms in Antwerp-Luchtbal, in the Bobsam Elejiko stadium. In addition to a club café, the canteen will also serve as a youth center where the young people of the neighborhood can meet next to the field. “We are very happy with it”, says Michiel De Visschere, communication manager of the City Pirates.
In 2020, the football club received a new synthetic turf based on cork. That material is said to be more durable than the rubber granules used in other fields. “The synthetic turf field also allows us to play all year round,” says De Visschere. “That was not possible with natural grass.”
In addition, in 2021 there will be a canteen for use and two extra changing rooms. The accommodation was also co-decorated by the young people from the neighbourhood. “We thought it was important that the young people make plans so that they go well with the budget,” explains De Visschere. Now they can read books, sit on couches, play table tennis and play games on the new PlayStation. Sporting A invested a total of 800,000 euros for these works
The city included City Pirates more than a football club. “It is a social football project, active in Merksem, Antwerp-Linkeroever, Deurne, Antwerp-Dam and Antwerp-Luchtbal”, it sounds. The Pirates find the double function of the canteen extremely important. “We hope that the canteen can be a catalyst for the neighborhood, so that everyone feels at home there,” says De Visschere.
The grounds and stadium on the Luchtbal are also other documents to deceased ex-footballer, Bob Elejiko. He died after a cardiac arrest during a game in 2011. “Bobsam is not a rook, even ten years after his death, a strong presence in the club. He must not be forgotten.” The club therefore no more than normal that the accommodation would be sent to him.