This article appears in the Tuesday March 1, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.
Philippines to host the Suzuki Cup?
By rick olivares
With the successful staging of the home match by the Philippines in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Bacolod last February against visiting Mongolia, it is possible that the suddenly football-mad country may yet get an opportunity to host an even bigger tournament.
In a fax letter to Philippine Football Federation Mariano V. Araneta last February 23, Ian Mathie, Vice President of World Sports Group, the organization behind the Asean Football Federation Championship said, “We are very much in favor of the Philippines hosting the 2012 or 2014 versions of the Suzuki Cup should you qualify or be selected.”
During an interview with Araneta, the PFF President said, “Hosting will not only be an honor but it will show the world that we have arrived as a footballing nation. With solid crowd support, who knows what our national team can achieve?”
But Mathie, in that same letter, mentioned that there are strict criteria that should be followed for any potential host country. “Not only is (the Suzuki Cup) it Southeast Asia’s premier football event, it is also the standard bearer for all sporting events in the region.”
Added Mathie, “We are willing to assist the PFF in identifying a suitable stadium that will undoubtedly require upgrades and renovations to meet the aforementioned criteria.”
The PFF is currently looking at utilizing the property in Tambo, Parañaque donated by El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde as a new training facility and possibly the site of a world-class football stadium. The 4.5-hectare area will be leased for 25 years to the PFF. “It is a very generous offer considering it is rent free,” said Araneta. “Things are really looking up for Philippine football.”