By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
Following the successful staging of the recently-concluded Philippine Football Federation (PFF)-Smart U22 Amateur Championship 2015, the Panaad Park and Stadium is reportedly eyed to co-host the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2016.
This was confirmed by Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) President Ricky Yanson Jr., adding they in PFF are talking about it but no definite decision out yet.
“That’s why I’m appealing to the people of Bacolod City and Negros Occidental to help promote football. PFF is also looking at our province and not only Metro Manila. Maybe this PFF-Smart tournament is a test on how capable we are in running such huge event. And I’m confident that we’re more than capable enough to handle the Suzuki Cup,” he added.
Yanson also pointed out that Iloilo will most likely serve as the tournament’s second turf as per requirement of the Suzuki Cup organizers. It was recalled that the historical Paglaum Stadium is no longer playable after business infrastructures were erected around it.
“We are looking at Iloilo to serve as co-host in this tournament. Anyway, it’s just an hour travel from here to the other island,” the NOFA prexy stressed.
When asked on the Philippine Stadium’s status, Yanson said he doesn’t have any idea what happened, though he is aware that the Bulacan-based field was the first to be inspected by the AFF to host the Suzuki Cup.
Regarding security measures, Yanson said they will have close coordination with the provincial government, police authorities, and other agencies involved to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium during the event.
“This is one of the major concerns the football association should address after the recent Paris incident,” Yanson added.
Teams seeing action in next year’s Suzuki Cup will come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines./WDJ