Saturday, May 03, 2014

Fair Play: Teamwork to make the Peace Cup happen in Cebu

IT SEEMS the idea of having the Peace Cup in Cebu has piqued quite a lot of interest.

Writers Bob Guerrero and Ryan Fenix, both based in Manila, which hosted the inaugural Peace Cup, like the idea, while a lot of fans are excited about it.

Another fan and writer, Arielle Cruz, offered a better alternative—why not use the Peace Cup as a tool for tourism.

It’s a great idea to have the Peace Cup hosted in different cities and showcase those parts of the country,” Arielle (@abcruz2310) tweeted the other day. “I wonder if that can be something DOT can look into. Can the Peace Cup be used to drive tourism to the host city?

The Peace Cup can surely be used as a sports tourism tool as the games are aired live over network giant ABS CBN. Of course, you may ask, how could a city’s tourism facilities be promoted in a 90-minute match? It doen’st have to be during the match itself, but prior to it. Just like what the World Pool Championship did when Manila hosted the event and it showed snippets of Manila’s facilities before every live matches.

You can do that for the Peace Cup and that’s just one aspect. In the world of social media, everybody is a walking endorser, every fan who flies in for the games is going to promote, post, tweet his or her experience to friends, and of course, there are the
players, who have countless of online followers.

Another former Manila-based football official, Graeme Mackinoon, the former coach of Global FC, had a different take.

Graeme, who was based in Cebu for a couple of decades, said, “Sure, Cebu can host the Peace Cup. Under the current CFA administration they have leapt any obstacle put in their path.Given the correct time frame to prepare, the Peace Cup would be an outstanding success. But when will the politicos of Cebu do something worthwhile re sports infrastructure in Cebu? Ensure a level playing field physically and metaphorically and watch sports tourism in Cebu prosper.”

I agree with Graeme, if Cebu gets the Peace Cup, there must be LGU support and not just from one city. Remember, if ever the tournament is a success, it’s not the local organizers that gets credit, it’s the place. Take the case of the previous Malaysia vs. Philippines friendly.

These are just some of the things they said:

I have had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of Cebu’s hospitality lots of times already. Great fans, awesome hosts—Dan Palami.

Thank you so much Cebu for a wonderful game here, fans are just amazing—Patrick Reichelt.

Thank you so much Cebu for a lovely time here. The support at the stadium was fantastic—James Younghusband.

Take note, the credit goes to all of Cebu, not just the organizers. So, it’s time the LGUs step in and offer help. For starters, take what Graeme meant when he said “a physical level playing field.” He meant the football pitch at the CCSC being under the control of the local organizers to give them the enough time and authority to bring it up to its best. To smooth out the bumps and make it level.

The Peace Cup will have four teams, how about one LGU taking care of the stay of each team, freeing local organizers’ resources for other matters.

The Malaysia vs. Philippines friendly has already resulted into one returning customer, with a high-profile member of the visiting team promising to return for a vacation in Cebu with his family. That’s what also happened in the previous friendly, with some of the Singapore players returning for a vacation with family.

The Peace Cup could play a bigger role in sports tourism, but it needs a lot of work, preparation and the cooperation of the LGUs.

As what Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama loves to say, “Together, we can make things happen.”
To make the Peace Cup in Cebu happen, everything must come together—enough preparation time and of course, support from LGUs, fans and sponsors.

If not this year, there’s always another time.

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