The Philippine Sports Commission aims to finish the renovation of the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium soon to host the Philippine national men’s football team should the Azkals advance to the semifinals of the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia said that once the memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Football Federation is signed next week, the upgrade will take two to three months to finish, just in time for the stadium to be the home turf of the Azkals if they qualify for the semis of the biennial tournament.
“Definitely, that’s our target. Pwede tayong mag-host,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that the stadium, part of the FIFA Goal Project in the country, will turn the 78-year-old stadium into a football center that will have an artificial pitch and can seat 25,000 to 30,000 spectators from the current 13,000.
In the 2010 edition of the Suzuki Cup, the Azkals were forced to play their home match in Indonesia during their two-legged semifinal due to the lack of a football stadium in the country that meets the FIFA standards. Indonesia won the series on aggregate, 2-0, to end the Azkals’ surprising semifinal run in the tournament.
The 2012 Suzuki Cup group stages will take place from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 in Malaysia and Thailand. A home-and-away format will then be adopted during the semifinals from Dec. 8 to Dec. 13 and finals from Dec. 19 to Dec. 22.