Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fair Play: Thirsty Cup shows Cebu thirsts for new pitch

There are 349 teams in this year's Thirsty Cup and no venue in Cebu can accomodate such tournament.

In theory, any football field in Cebu, no matter how small, can accommodate such, but that would mean stretching a three-day tournament to, say, two weeks?

So for this year, organizers of the Thirsty Cup are forced to used two venues for Saturday's games, so they won't have to run a 24-hour footie tournament.

Which reminds me of one big "if-only."  Back in 2005, the dream for a Sports Village in the SRP was hatched.  It's been eight years and the proponent for that dream--Jonathan Guardo had a falling out with Tomas Osmena and a reconciliation--and the Sports Village is nothing but a dream.

It was, I concede,  a crazy dream then but hey, look at the football landscape now?  Anyone who'd say in 2005 that it would be become this would have been dragged to a mental institution.

Now, in Manila, there's the Emperador Stadium, the BGC and the Green Archers field, all featuring the maintenance-free articial turf.  Aside from that, the Iglesia ni Cristo stadium is under construction, while another one is set to rise in Makati.

In Cebu, aside from the Cebu City Sports Center, we have the Aboitiz Sports Field and the USC Stadium,which is under construction.

Nothing else.

How important is a football pitch?  Especially one that’s of pristine condition?  Well, consider this.  Had the then Sacred Heart School-Jesuits not put up field at the Cebu Business Park in the early 2000s, I don’t think Cebu football would have gotten that surge in the mid-2000s, when taking up the sport was the in thing.  And that was before the Azkals phenomenon.

Imagine what a new field could do.

The availability of artificial turfs is also a big plus, it’s easy to maintain and durable, too.  And it can handle the abuse that a big tournament like the Thirsty Cup could bring.

I’ve heard that there are plans to rehabilitate the Aboitiz Sports Field, I hope that the real estate conglomerate of Cebu might consider a grand redesign, they certainly can afford it and I think it would be an apt move.

The Aboitizes have supported Cebu football for at least 17 years with the Aboitiz Football Cup, the longest running tournament in the country.

A crazy dream?

Well, footie fans had a crazy dream once, and it was about football getting mainstream support.

Right now, no one’s dragging us to the loony bin.

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