A new Philippine sports stadium as venue for the World Cup in 2023?
If veteran bench tactician and former national team coach Yeng Guiao were to ask, he believes it’s ideal to put up a new sports stadium in Clark, Pampanga in time for the country’s hosting of the World Cup.
With more than five years to prepare, Guiao thinks putting up a world-class sports stadium is doable and he would suggest it to no less than Manuel V. Pangilinan, the chief backer of the Philippines’ bid to host the prestigious tournament.
“I’ll suggest that to MVP. I think this is a good time for the creation of a new sports stadium with Clark being identified as the logical site,” added Guiao.
According to Guiao, having venues stretched from south to north would make a good impression that the Philippines is very much capable of staging a world event.
“From the south, you have Mall of Asia Arena, then traveling up north you’ll have Araneta Coliseum, which is another world-class venue. If you look at the location of Araneta Coliseum, it is in Quezon City and once you drive your way to NLEX, you’ll get to Philippine Arena, which is another ideal venue for the World Cup. If you continue to drive straight, you’ll be headed to Clark,” said Guiao.
“It’s also good for the NLEX business because people will go there, so I think it’s worth the investment for Boss MVP.”
The Mall of Asia Arena served as the venue in the Philippines’ hosting of two major FIBA-sanctioned events. It was the site of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship where the Philippines placed runner-up to Iran and put the country back to the world stage.
In 2016, MOA Arena became one of the venues of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament held simultaneously in three countries.
The last time the Philippines hosted the World Championship in 1978, it was held at the Araneta Coliseum, site of many sports spectacles which also included the classic “Thrilla In Manila”, the third fight of the classic trilogy between Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer.
The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, which attracted close to 55,000 fans during Game 7 of the finals series between Ginebra and Meralco, boasts of an Olympic-size sports stadium that has a basketball gymnasium, track oval and swimming pool, among others.
Putting up a new sports stadium in Clark was first broached two years ago by sports officials Ritchie Garcia, then the Philippine Sports Commission chairman, and Peping Cojuangco, the longest-serving Philippine Olympic Committee president.
“The idea then was to put up a sports stadium which not only allow our athletes to train, but could also provide them a dormitory. It was also suggested to have a school inside the sports stadium to allow them to study,” Guiao said.