Thursday, July 02, 2015

Fair Play: Four months to do magic on CCSC field

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 3 edition)
NOV. 17, 2015. Mark that date. That’s the day the Azkals will return to Cebu for another friendly against a yet to be named foe.

By that time, we’ll know if we’re still chasing a spot in the 2018 World Cup or would we be settling for a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup as the second round of the qualifiers also serves as the qualifiers for the Asian tournament.

Before the Nov. 17 friendly, the Philippines will face dangerous Uzbekistan at home on Sept. 8, face North Korea in Pyeongyang on Oct. 10 and then Bahrain on Oct. 13. The best results to hope for, of course, is a win in all three matches but playing the North Koreans at their own court would be one of the hardest matches ever and at World No. 74 to the Azkals World No. 137, Uzbekistan is one of the highest-ranking foes we would be meeting.


But still, you can’t be a football fan if you don’t have a little hope on you, so yes, I’m hoping for a couple of surprises for the Philippines, so the Nov. 17 friendly would come at a crucial phase in their campaign.

And since it’s a Fifa-designated friendly, we can expect the players from Europe would be released, which would be great since we’d be hosting Yemen on Dec. 11. Whether they would stay here until the home game or return home for club duties, I wouldn’t know.


So, what’s left for the Cebuano fans to do? Well, for starters, let’s hope again that the Cebu City Sports Center field would be ready in four months. The CFA’s Joey Herrera is confident it would be, as long as the consultants from Alta Vista Golf and Country Club will lend their expertise anew.

I have to admit, I have another selfish reason for wishing for a really great field on Nov. 17, a Tuesday. Because on that weekend, we’d be having the Fourth Sun.Star Football Cup, and the players, who would be watching the game a few days prior, would be playing at the spruced up CCSC field.

What would happen to the field after the friendly? Well, the Sinulog will come in January and it will complete its cycle of rebirth and dying anew.

Of course, we could all wish that the Sinulog Foundation takes care of the field, but if the football gods have a cap on wishes, I’d settle for those three wins prior Nov. 17 and accept the inevitable after the Nov. 17 friendly.

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