FORMER Cebu-based football coach Graeme Mackinnon is elated that Cebu may finally host an international friendly involving the men’s national team.
National team manager Dan Palami and Cebu Football Association president Ricky Dakay met last Thursday and among those discussed was a Nov. 15 friendly between the Azkals and Thailand at the Cebu City Sports Center.
“It is something all true-blue Cebu football fans have been craving for and now it could be a reality,” said Mackinnon, who is now back in Australia after a brief stint with Global in the UFL. “It is great for Cebu, because for so long, we have been left behind Bacolod and Iloilo.”
Aside from the local fans, Mackinnon said the government and the local tourism industry could also benefit from the game.
Now, the government officials will see in their own backyard what football can do for Cebu by having a stadium to allow hostings of international games--both in tourism and also awareness nationally and internationally as Cebu will be showcased, he said.
The planned match will be aired live nationally and worldwide through the TFC channel.
Palami has also promised that if the response to the Nov. 15 friendly will be great, he will have Cebu host the home game should the Azkals make the semifinal round of the 2012 Suzuki Cup later this year.
The Rizal Memorial Stadium, which hosted the 2014 World Cup qualifiers match last year, was supposed to have its pitch replaced with an artificial turf this month but that has been delayed because the Philippine Sports Commission is waiting for the go-signal from the Department of Justice if it is allowed to sign a 25-year contract with the PFF.
The Panaad Park and Stadium, which hosted the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifiers, will also host the Long Teng Cup in October.