The Johan Cruyff Court in The Bottom was reopened in a festive manner on Wednesday evening, May 4 in the presence of a large, enthusiastic crowd that included many parents and children.
As part of the extensive renovation, the turf was replaced, the field was leveled and the backwall was reinforced. The Johan Cruyff Court has become slightly bigger, creating space for the addition of two tracking lanes and a volleyball court. The field’s surface area measures 2973m2, which makes it the largest Johan Cruyff Court in the world.
The old turf had been in place since the opening of the Johan Cruyff Court 14 years ago and needed urgent replacing stated Commissioner of Sport Rolando Wilson in his opening remarks. Many people have been making good use of the field, but over the course of years, the surface started to deteriorate, creating a hazardous and unpleasant situation for the users.
“We brought this to the attention of the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport. After some research, reporting, and planning, everyone agreed that the field had to be renovated and upgraded. Today it is with great pride that we have a renovated field that can host track and field, outdoor volleyball, soccer, and softball. And, we can now also invite other islands to take part in sports events here,” said Commissioner Wilson.
The renovated Johan Cruyff Court was reopened in the presence of a representative of the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) Nick Veenbrink, Simon van Rooijen of the Johan Cruyff Foundation, and coaches of the Netherlands Baseball Federation, who were on the island to give baseball and softball clinics.
Veenbrink said that he very much enjoyed taking part in a baseball clinic on the Johan Cruyff Court on Wednesday. He said that the sports field clearly brings people together and gives people the opportunity to meet each other in a positive spirit. Both he and Commissioner Wilson encouraged people to keep the field clean and to use it.
“I had heard much about Saba and I knew I was coming to a unique place. It all proved to be true. Saba has the largest Johan Cruyff Court in the world. That is something to be proud of. There is no other Johan Cruyff Court like this one, and I urge you to take good care of it. This is not a field of the government or of the Johan Cruyff Foundation, but of everyone. You have to work together, be responsible, so everyone can have a good time. And, like Johan Cruyff always said: All I need is to see people smiling.”
The symbolic reopening took place immediately after the speeches with Commissioner Wilson standing in the soccer goal and pupil Jayden Every kicking the ball to him. After the formal part, children, parents, coaches and invited guests enjoyed playing games on the field.
The Johan Cruyff Court is used on a daily basis for the different sports and physical exercise activities and fits in the healthy lifestyle policy that the Public Entity Saba promotes. Funding for the renovation of the Cruyff Court came from the Ministry of VWS. Commissioner Wilson thanked the Ministry for making the funding available and he thanked the Johan Cruyff Foundation for its input and collaboration.
The renovation was a joint effort of the Public Health Department and the Planning Bureau of the Public Entity Saba. Saba Roads and Construction BV was the contractor for the project. The provider of the new turf was Greenfields.