By Abac Cordero
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation should forget about hosting one of the two semifinals matches between the Philippines and Indonesia in the AFF Suzuki Cup, and instead must look forward to the possibility of the Filipinos landing in the finals.
“That’s what we should prepare for. What if we make it to the finals, are we going to deal with this problem again?” said Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, who recently got the nod of 26 of 33 provincial associations as the new PFF president.
But it’s Jose Mari Martinez, who was supposed to have been ousted and replaced, who continues to enjoy the support and recognition of the FIFA, the world governing body in the sport, as the PFF president.
Martinez faced the media yesterday after sitting down with Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia regarding the problem of hosting one of the two semifinals matches between the Philippines and Indonesia.
The semis matches are scheduled Dec. 16 and 19, and because of the absence of a Philippine venue that suits the Asian Football Federation (AFF) and FIFA standards, both matches may land in Jakarta or one in Vietnam.
The other semis pairing pits Vietnam against Malaysia. It’s the first time that the Philippines, now reinforced by a handful of Fil-foreigners, made it to the Suzuki Cup semis.
Jakarta has the Gelora Bung Kamo Stadium that can seat as many as 80,000 fans, with reserved and numbered seats, 1,200 luminous lights, a television coverage of the highest quality and a security force that can handle the crowd.
The PFF stands to receive a huge amount as its share on the gate receipts in the semis, and it could go as high as $200,000.