Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fair Play: It's time for CCSC to use artificial turf

IF I had the time, I would have brought flowers during the 10th Thirsty Football Festival and no it's not for the other woman as Feb. 15 is supposed to be their designated Valentine's Day.

It's for football pitch, which, just three months ago, was considered by many to be one of the best conditioned in the country.

Now, it's but a shadow of itself.

"Ayaw'g sulti ug masakit na pulong," Dondon Musni, who spent his nights at the CCSC caring for his mistress--the field--told me when I pointed out the state of the pitch.

In an ideal world, the CCSC football pitch should be used just for that, football, but we don't live in one.  Football didn't kill the CCSC field, the stage for the Sinulog festival did.  And here's another reality, like football matches and festivals, the Cebu City Sports Center is the perfect venue for the Sinulog finale--it sits right in the middle of the city and the grandstand makes for comfortable viewing.

Does one have to cancel the other?  

It's ironic but it's the fault of Dondon and the rest of the Cebu Football Association who worked hard on the pitch last year why the CCSC is now considering an end to holding football festivals.  In previous years, there were matches and festivals at the CCSC when there was nary a stand of grass and it was just one big dust bowl.

But because the CFA turned it to one that passes international standard--by closing it for a few months--the CCSC has realized that making it green isn't impossible.

Which, of course, brings us to back square one. The international football match was supposed to promote the sport in Cebu, and football festivals like Thirsty help sustain it.  Now, we don't have a venue for either a festival or an international match.

It's easy to put the blame on the CCSC management, but we have to consider, it's the Cebu City Sports Center, not the Cebu City Football Center.  

The CFA and CCSC, of course, can restore it, again.  But there’s a better option. 

Turf it!

The City Government spent P40 million to rehab the track oval, half of that would be good enough for an artificial turf.  The advantage of having an artificial turf is enormous, aside from hosting international matches, it can be rented out to footie enthusiasts, football clinics and tournaments.

And of course, when the Sinulog comes, it can take the abuse.

Impossible?  No funds for it?  That’s what they said, too, when the running community—because of the sport’s boom—started the clamor to upgrade the oval.

All it will take is one visionary. 

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