Thursday, December 04, 2014

Fair Play: Dilapidated CCSC better than white elephants

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Dec. 4 edition)
SOMEONE posted this comment (edited) on my column about Cebu football.

A Wilfred Labidez wrote, “You have so many tournaments but pitches and stadiums are not well-maintained. How can you hold Azkals games if your facilities are too small for international competitions? You can’t even compete in the UFL because of no sponsors, so Cebu football will be only for Cebu.”

He’s right about the first part. Our facilities and stadium are not well-maintained. But if there’s one thing about the Cebu City Sports Center—one that leads some sports fans like me to scratch their head--is that it’s not just a sports facility. It has got be the country’s most overused facility as it also hosts field demonstrations, the Sinulog celebration, prayer gathering and what-have-you.


As a sport facility, I think it sees more users than all the other venues constructed for the Palarong Pambansa combined. Just drop by for a visit on an ordinary day, and you’d see thousands of joggers, boxers, dancers, Zumba participants, belly dancers, weightlifters, taekwondo practicioners, footballers, softball and baseball players.

All of them contribute to the physical deterioration of the CCSC. But so what? I’d rather see a facility like that than be amazed at a pristine venue that has not been used since it hosted a Palarong Pambansa.

Yes, the pitch--or non-existent pitch--is dead, but given the right time, it can be spruced up to international standards, as what we did for the Philippines vs. Singapore match. It would be ideal if it was kept that way.

But you know what, Cebu football is thriving despite the lack of resources, because the people here—not just the Cebu Football Association—never saw it as a hindrance.

However, such problem is expected to be eased when the 8,000-seater Univesity of San Carlos stadium is finally done.

So, is Cebu football just for Cebu football? Naa. I wasn’t bragging when I wrote that post, it merely highlighted what the support from the private sector to the local football community has gotten the sport—we have groups like Aboitiz and Thirsty holding tournaments for over 10 years, we have the BPO sector and other companies fielding teams. We have sponsors shelling out for teams and tournaments.

As to the UFL, Cebu Queen City United competed for two seasons, flying in and out weekly, and if the national league ever pushes through, we’re going to have a team.

So, is Cebu football just for Cebu? That wasn’t the point but, you know what, other cities would do well if they copy the things that we are doing right.

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