The pitch at the intended Ruimsig training headquarters outside Johannesburg opened up with holes following Australia’s friendly match with Denmark last weekend, raising concerns for Football Federation Australia in the run-up to the tournament start.
Frustrated Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek confirmed that Australia already is looking at alternatives if the pitch is left in a poor state after this weekend’s friendly with the United States.
'We are thinking, of course, for a Plan B and a Plan C but let’s see how it is tomorrow [against the USA] first," Verbeek said.
'If there is too much damage then maybe we have to do something different. On the other hand, it is just for the upcoming 10 days before Germany. I’m not so sure you can destroy the field in 10 days. If it is the case, then we have to find somewhere else."
Australia has been training at a private school in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg since arriving in South Africa last week and had planned to move to new accommodation and use the Ruimsig Athletics Stadium, a FIFA venue where Australia will have played its two lead-up friendlies, as its practice base.
Australia funded the construction of a football pitch at the school and has had complete control over the facilities, something it does not have at Ruimsig.
'We have our own ground staff here [at St Stithians] and this is all our own money," Verbeek said.
'They have spent so much time here managing a beautiful pitch and they have done a fantastic job. But we are in control. We have paid the money. The other fields are to do with FIFA or the Local Organising Committee or whoever it may be but it was not us. Here we have it under our control. There it is completely out of our control.
'I was at Ruimsig last year and it was fantastic so I don’t know what has happened. It was one of the best fields and was used for the Confederations Cup.
'It has not been used anymore since then by whatever football team. They don’t have AFL here - I am leaving Australia so I can speak my mind."
Verbeek insisted his players had not complained about the pitch but an FFA pspokesperson confirmed plans were underway to locate an alternative venue, a potential logistical nightmare in a highly-structured and pre-planned tournament.
'Our players never complain," Verbeek said. 'We have seen some quite interesting fields in the last two and a half years travelling over the world. They just do their job."