source: Abac Cordero | philstar.com
Except for some minor ground repairs and a thorough check of the stadium itself, the Rizal Memorial football field is definitely capable of hosting the Azkals’ home game against Sri Lanka on July 3.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, Azkals team manager Dan Palami, head coach Michael Weiss and Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Monico Puentevella made an ocular inspection of the venue yesterday.
They didn’t see any major problem.
“As far as the pitch is concerned, there are some patches, some holes that are not seen because they are covered with grass. We have to fix that because it may post danger to the players,” said Palami.
“But it can be done in a month and with still three months left. Overall, the pitch is okay,” he added.
Puentevella said they also have to look into the provisions needed to host an international match, like an adequate dressing room and a media room.
And since the old dressing rooms have very low ceilings, the POC chairman said it should be wiser to put up a temporary structures, air-conditioned, along the halls.
Since the match falls on a Sunday, Puentevella said there will be no need to put up the lights, and instead hold the match at 4 p.m.
“We can hold it at daytime since there’s no work on a Sunday. I’m sure the people will come to see the match. It’s time to bring the Azkals to Manila,” said Puentevella after the inspection also witnessed by the PFF’s Jojo Rodriguez.
Palami said it will not cost much to have all these done in time for the July 3 match. On June 28, the Azkals will play the Sri Lankans in their home turf as part of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
The winner between the Philippines and Sri Lanka will move on to the next stage against Kuwait.
Palami said the stadium itself should be inspected for its structural integrity because it’s been quite a while since it has hosted a big event that is expected to draw a huge crowd.
He said holding the match in Manila, instead of Bacolod, which hosted the Azkals’ AFF Challenge Cup match against Mongolia, will also help the hosts save on logistics.
“This way, we don’t need to fly the Sri Lankans to Bacolod and then back to Manila. It will also be easier for our players coming in from Europe and the US Logistics wise, it’s better to stage it here in Manila,” said Palami.