CEBU is looking forward to its inaugural hosting of an international football match between the Philippine Men’s National Football Team and Singapore this November.
Although, the match against the Lion City and its date has already been confirmed on Nov. 15, there is a move to request Singapore to move the date to Nov. 16 instead.
“It’s on the point of view of the Filipinos who would have wanted to watch the game on Friday because there is no work on Saturday,” said Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
Nov. 15 had been the initial agreed date between the parties as it lies on an international FIFA friendly date.
As for the lineup, Palami said local-based players are already fine. He added that just in case the overseas players cannot come, they will be ready for Singapore.
“Okay lang naman kahit local-based players maglaro kasi tumataas naman ang standard,” he said.
Palami said it’s a risk the team has to take if they excuse the overseas players for the Singapore friendly match because they might have a hard time having these players released by their clubs in the actual tournament.
Last Saturday, architect Ike Madamba and UFL technical director Cyril Dofitas paid the CCSC football field a visit.
The two said the task is more on field preparation, in making the pitch of
international standards. But Palami is confident with the strong support from Cebuanos.
“We are quite confident with the leadership of CFA. There are still a lot of things to do, but we see no major obstacle in this undertaking,” Palami said.
“I have a lot of faith in the Cebuanos that they can pull this off and hopefully make Cebu a practice venue for the challenge cup in the future,” he added.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said that a friendly match will serve as a return invitation to Singapore who hosted a game against the Azkals before.
“It’s a form of reciprocity kasi nakalaro na tayo sa kanila, now it’s our time to invite them para maglaro dito sa atin,” said Araneta.
He had already advised FIFA and AFC of the friendly match that will serve as the last friendly before they head on to the Suzuki Cup.
Meanwhile, Araneta also announced yesterday that the Paulino Alcantra Peace Cup will be at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Sept. 25-29.
Since the renovations on RMS have been on hold, it will be free to host the four-country tournament featuring Philippines, Taipei, Macau and Guam.
Palami said the target for the PAPC is on improving the local based players who will see action againt asian teams.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2012.