CEBU CITY -– The anticipated friendly game to be hosted by the city on November 15 at the Cebu City Sports Center Football Field might feature the Philippine national football team going up against Singapore.
This is not a done deal yet but this was the initial plan that came after the matter was discussed during the Philippine Football Federation Board of Governors meeting.
Present in the meeting were the new Cebu Football Association Board president Ricky Dakay, who sits on the BOG for the first time, and Leyte Football Association head and Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
“What I realized is that the popularity of the sport of football is on a phenomenal rise and such has to be sustained and managed properly. We cannot afford to regress or sit on the laurels of this initial success,” said Dakay.
Dakay said that as part of the preparation for the friendly game, the board has invited architect Ike Madamba, the man who renovated the Rizal Stadium for the Azkals match against Sri Lanka, and United Football League Assistant Tournament Director Cyril Dofitas to inspect the Cebu City Sports Center Football Field.
“They have provided us with a questionnaire and a checklist so that we can perform our initial and preliminary assessment,” said Dakay.
The match will be part of the team’s preparation for its upcoming bid in the AFC Suzuki Cup — the competition that changed the football landscape in the country after a surprising semifinal appearance in 2010.
It will be tough road for the Azkals as they belong in the group stage with powerhouse teams in Southeast Asia alongside Thailand, Vietnam and the top qualifier of the group stage.
Singapore, on the other hand, belongs to Group B with defending champion Malaysia, runner-up Indonesia, and the runner-up of the qualifying stages.
Cebu City Sports Center Manager Ricky Ballesteros said the field is standard size and has a capacity of 10,000.
He said he had the chance to speak with Madamba, who said that the field size is okay for hosting games and league matches, with the renovation already on its final phase.
In case of rain, the water will go straight to its existing drainage system that has also been improved.
Ballesteros said he is only waiting for the certification from the engineer who still has to make sure there would no longer be corrections in the field.