By Cedelf P. Tupas
The Philsports pitch, which has seen better days, will soon be transformed into an artificial turf as part of the International Football Federation (Fifa) Goal Project 2 for the Philippines.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said the PFF has decided to move the project from the Parañaque lot of charismatic leader Mike Velarde to the government-owned Philsports pitch in Pasig City.
Araneta said the Philippine Sports Commission, which manages the pitch, has already agreed in principle to have the artificial turf installed in the facility.
The PSC will be turning over the management of the Philsports pitch to the PFF for the next 25 years as part of the agreement.
“We believe that putting the Goal Project in Ultra (Philsports pitch) is a wise decision,” Araneta said Monday night. “It’s accessible and convenient since its right at the center of Metro Manila.”
But a source said that some of the provisions in the Memorandum of Agreement proposed by Velarde’s group did not sit well with Fifa, including the plan to construct a stadium for the field.
Fifa also nixed the Parañaque site because the land is in the flight path of airplanes flying in and out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The Fifa grant for the artificial turf is worth $500,000 (roughly P21.7 million), but Araneta said the PFF will also be spending $100,000 (roughly P4.3 million) to cover the cost of buying the field.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental dumped Leyte, 11-0, yesterday to complete a four-game sweep of the PFF Suzuki Cup Under-23 Visayas qualifiers at the Silliman field in Dumaguete City.
Filipino-American striker Joshua Beloya frolicked in a rare starting role for coach Norman Fegidero, booting in five goals for the Bacolod-based squad, which also got a hat-trick from Joven Bedic.
“We’re happy with topping the group, but there’s a lot of work to be done if we are to win the national title,” said Fegidero. Source