BY BONG PEDRALVEZ
Third Division club CF Madrid has agreed to play a "practice game" with the Philippine Azkals on Jan. 7 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, which will be a fund-raiser for the victims of Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao, according to football chief Mariano Araneta Jr.
"CF Madrid has confirmed it will arrive in Manila to play a ‘practice game’ with the Azkals on Jan. 7," said Araneta, who assigned national team manager Dan Palami to take charge of the arrangements for the charity match.
Because it will only be a practice game, "we no longer need FIFA sanction since it is not an international friendly that has strict requirements like local coordinators and technical officials that meet their criteria," Araneta said.
Among those spearheading the project are national women’s coach Ernie Nierras, Ebong Joson and Craig Burroughs, the last two being the leaders of the Kaholeross, the official cheerleading group of the Azkals.
During initial talks during the Azkal Christmas party at the SMDC showroom in Pasay City last Tuesday night, the core group suggested fans would be charged a P100 entrance fee to watch the game, and they would be encouraged to bring goods for the typhoon victims.
They said collection boxes would be set up around the venue where the fans could drop their items.
They also agreed that LBC would act as the "ticketing agent" for the football benefit, while volunteers would be tapped during a "telethon" during the day to raise cash for those affected by the natural calamity.
"This is one way the local football community can pay back and help our countrymen who were adversely affected by Typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao," they said.
To start the ball rolling, the group encouraged fans and players alike during the Christmas party to purchase ballers of the Azkals and Malditas at P100 each that would go to the relief fund for typhoon victims.