By Jerome S. Galunan, Jr.
Following the successful staging of the inaugural Negros Island Region Athletic Association Meet last week, the Panaad Park and Stadium is set to make another history as it plays host to the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Group Stage (Group E) on February 23 and May 10.
Panaad Stadium will host the matches of Negros Occidental pride and Bacolod City-based Ceres-La Salle FC, which will take visiting Selangor FA of Malaysia on February 23 and Bangladesh’s Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd. on May 10.
To meet the requirements set by the AFC, Panaad makes some improvements in its facility.
Among the visible enhancements at the stadium is the installation of fiber glass seats on the main grandstand for VIPs and the media tribune, as well as refurbishment of press box and VIP rooms wherein a VIP lounge and new air-conditioning units were installed.
The press conference room and the media working room also got some facelift. Free internet connections will also be installed.
Host-Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) is also working on the improvement of the stadium’s floodlights illuminations. And as the event comes closer, more structures will be put in place to ensure safety of players, officials, and spectators.
NOFA President Ricky Yanson, Jr., who also heads the Philippine Football Federation’s Grassroots Committee, reiterated that the staging of this tournament will give opportunity for local football enthusiasts to witness high quality games at home and help boost the game among the grassroots./WDJ