Mars G. Alison


Get ready to put on your game face as Cebu will once again host a FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) international friendly match between the Philippine Azkals and the Malaysia Tigers dubbed as Face Off 2 at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) on April 27.

This will be the fourth meeting of the two teams in recent years with the first three all ending in a draw.

So, will this be the chance of the Azkals to clinch that win against the Tigers?  Or, will Malaysia humble the Philippine national team in our soil?

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While the friendly was already announced last week on the website of FIFA and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), the Cebu Football Association’s (CFA) hosting of the friendly match was only confirmed last Thursday, said Rico Navarro, the local football association’s vice president.

The official announcement and the memorandum of agreement signing between the CFA and the Philippine Football Federation will be made during a press conference this Sunday at the Aboitiz Sports Field in Subangdaku, Mandaue City, right after the Men’s Open championship of the 16th Aboitiz Football Cup.

Gracing the press conference will be Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami and head coach Thomas Dooley.

Navarro said that 90 percent of the workforce behind the first Face Off will be back for the Face Off 2 except that changes will be made on the composition of the ground workforce on the day of the match.

Glenn Quisido will once again head the local organizing committee, while Rodney Orale, who pulled a near miracle in converting CCSC’s dust bowl of a football field into one that is of international standards, has once again been tasked to accomplish the same.

The same as last time, Security committee will be handled by Nimrod Quinones who says that just like Face Off 1, no bottled water, umbrellas, sharp objects and deadly weapons will be allowed inside the CCSC during the match.

An addition to the workforce will be CCSC manager Ricky Ballesteros who will now be part of the organizing committee.

Extension bleachers will still be put up but not as wide as before leaving a 3.3-meter space before the oval.

Navarro said that “pocket” bleachers are also contemplated to be put up at the Abellana National School (ANS) side of the field as they plan to squeeze more spectators in.

The first Face Off last November 2012 that featured the Azkals playing against the Singapore Lions drew about 10,000 spectators and Navarro said they are hopeful to get if not more, at least the same.

The CFA will make sure to correct the problems encountered in the first friendly that it hosted.

According to Navarro they will stick to having assigned seat numbers as this is a strict requirement from FIFA.

Tickets will also be priced slightly higher such as the VIP tickets which will now cost P2,500 instead of P2,000, while the lowest price is pegged at P400.

Tickets will once again be sold at the SM Tickets. The CFA will soon make an announcement on when the tickets will be available.