Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fair Play: CCSC's pitch gets green, but for how long?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 24 issue)
I PASSED by the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) last Tuesday, and I have to say, I’m impressed with the improvement of the field. Long forsaken and given up for dead after it was spruced up, first for the Singapore game on Nov. 15, 2012, and for the AFC President’s Cup in May last year, the football pitch looks like a football pitch again, not the dust bowl CCSC was famous for.


(That's Dino Musni watering his baby.)


And we have guys like Dino Musni to thank for. Dino, whom Nimrod QuiƱones says is one of the unsung heroes of Cebu’s hosting of major tournaments, told me he spent his Holy Week break at the CCSC, which as late as last month, had more brown patches than green.

The field won’t be as pristine as it was during the Singapore friendly of course, as there simply isn’t enough time. The Malaysia vs. Philippines friendly was announced late March, giving Cebu less than a month to prepare the field.

So, the field will be spruced up, again. But how long would it be at its best?

Or, should we be asking: Should the CCSC maintain an immaculate pitch? In an ideal world, the answer should be yes and scam masterminds shouldn’t be state witnesses, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

CCSC manager Ricky Ballesteros told me a decade ago that the sports center has to pay for its own staff, and when it comes to the use of the football field, generating income, not keeping it pristine, is the CCSC’s primary concern.

Can you blame them? Keeping it pristine would be akin to spending millions for an office spruce-up just because the boss might visit once a year.

Only Azkals matches require such field as the other tournaments only require a venue.

Unless, of course, the CFA and the CCSC management sit down and come up with an agreement for the field’s upkeep. But what would it take for CCSC to let a private group take over the maintenance of a public facility? And how many tournaments can be held there? The CFA’s signature event, the Aboitiz Cup, already has a home.

But perhaps there is going to be a different story should the need arise for an impecabble pitch to be maintained—say, a Cebu team in the planned Philippine domestic league to be launched in 2016?

We’ll wait and see.

The football pitch at the CCSC is nearly at its best condition for now. Let’s enjoy it while we can, because it won’t last long.

(The CCSC field as of April 22)


(The CCSC field during the Thirsty Cup last Feb. 21)


(The CCSC field at its best, nine days before the Singapore friendly in 2012) 

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