By NIMROD NL QUIÑONES
There is a very good reason to be at the Cebu City Sports Center on April 27 – the international friendly football match pitting the Philippine Azkals against the Malaysia Tigers.
As somebody, who is directly involved in the preparations for this event, it means that I am up to date with what is happening and secondly, I am also harassed with all the work that has to be done hehehe…
What is good about the current board of the Cebu Football Association (CFA) is that we can work very well together in both good and bad times. We (the CFA board) already had past experience about hosting big international tournaments and are not groping in the dark with the preparations.
When we hosted Face Off in November 2012, which saw the Azkals go up against the Singapore Lions, there were many things that we had to experiment on and in some cases we fell flat on our faces. We managed to get our acts together though and the event turned out to be a huge success.
On May last year, the CFA was tasked to host the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup that featured four club teams from four different countries – Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
There were three playing days and we had to make constant adjustments as each day passed. After the event, we got a good review from the match commissioner.
This time, there is very short notice. While we heard about the plans to have Cebu host the friendly, it wasn’t confirmed until only recently.
Knowing how difficult it is to work with very little time, the CFA board decided to just get on with the preparations sans the letter from the Philippine Football Federation that would designate Cebu as the host of the international friendly.
Again, one of the biggest challenges is getting the field in shape for the big day. If you have visited the Cebu City Sports Center recently, you might think this is an impossible task.
The people who are preparing the field are confident that they can give us a world-class pitch come game day, but this cannot be done without the cooperation of other people.
Yes, the CCSC field is owned by the government, but that does not mean that anybody who wants to use it can just destroy portions by putting tents or a stage or other structures.
People should also avoid straying in the field while it is being prepared and most importantly, all users of the CCSC must help in the upkeep of the facility by disposing of trash properly.
Another major challenge would be the lights, but Engr. Ricky Dakay, president of the CFA, said that he will solve this problem. One thing I learned about working closely with Ricky is that when he says he will solve a problem, he will definitely solve it, so we can rest easy about the lights.
Where you all can help is filling the stands with football fans or simply people, who would like to enjoy a good game of football.
The tickets will be sold at SM Tickets and prices range from as low as P250 to P2,500. The CFA will officially announce when the tickets would be available.
I suggest that you buy as soon as the tickets are out so you can pick good seats and you can be seated with friends and family. Like in the past, the seats would be numbered, which is a requirement set by FIFA, so you cannot just sit anywhere you want.
Just a reminder, bottled drinks, sharp objects, lighters, deadly weapons, umbrellas, and other similar items would not be allowed inside the stadium during the match. Smoking is also banned inside the stadium so if you want to smoke, do it outside before you would come in.
Parking at the sports center will only be for VIPs, but the CFA will request the police and the CITOM to allow street parking in nearby areas and provide additional security.
Let us all do our share to make this event successful. This is not just an event of the CFA, but of the whole Cebuano community. Its success will be the triumph of all Cebuanos.