IT WAS A WIN-WIN KICK, NO MATTER which side of the neglected national football field you stand.
Of course, there was no notable applause, no happy ripple whatsoever, that followed the announcement from the Philippine Sports Commission about the planned upgrade of the rutted track and football stadium at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex into a world-class football venue.
That ?deadma? reaction was all to be expected.
In the first place, who cares about the universal game of football in the Philippines?
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PSC chair Harry Angping obviously does.
?The plan is to turn the Rizal Memorial Track and Field Oval into a football stadium,? Angping said.
He said they?re just waiting for a private partner to help co-finance the noble project.
Topping the list of possible partners is De La Salle University, noted top backer of the game of soccer among local universities.
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Knowing Angping, it?s easy to believe the plan would push through.
Of course, Angping cannot be expected to start executing the project with the same promptness he had torn down the girlie joints at the Harrison Plaza edge of RMSC after he assumed office.
But it?s safe to guess that the PSC chief is also in a hurry to join this latest move to revive football in the Philippines?again!
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OK, we do need one world-class football stadium.
But, come to think of it, does Angping honestly believe the planned world-class soccer stadium could fuel full-scale football revival hereabouts?
Does Angping, in trying to help Philippine football back to its feet, sincerely believe a classy football turf far away from the grassroots would kick football here back into orbit?
That?s quite doubtful.
In the first place, that midsection of the Rizal Memorial oval also used to serve as a football field.
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It, in fact, hosted the Cruzeiro team, starring the great Tostao (known as the White Pele) in 1970, the year Brazil captured the Jules Rimet trophy.
Anyway, once the world-class football field has been completed, what would be the next move?
They would most likely invite world-caliber teams to play here.
And these foreign teams would be pitted against so-so teams from the Philippines.
Don?t look now, but there?s no escaping the fact that, with our poor style of play, that classy football turf at RMSC would ironically showcase how lowly football is played here.
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The sight of the RP side being slaughtered right in the national arena would be another big turn-off.
So, the recommendation is for the PSC to pursue the national football stadium project.
But at the same time, it should lead a movement?a revolution no less?to make football understood and accepted by the populace.
The logic is simple: We can produce better players, better-quality soccer only if we can have enough aspirants from the grassroots to aspire and play in the main national stadium.
There are countless kids waiting and longing to try their luck in the game of soccer.
Unfortunately, they are always turned off by the perennial lack of available playing turfs.
It?s always been a case of a bridge too far (to cross) from basketball court to the ever absent village football field.