By Reuben Terrado, JVP, KY, GMA News
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is ready for the rehabilitation and sprucing up of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in time for when the Philippine men’s football team plays at the 76-year-old stadium against Sri Lanka in the first round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers on July 3.
Sri Lanka will host the opener on June 29.
Loyzaga said that the PSC will meet with Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) officials in the coming week to discuss working relations related to the stadium preparations.
The PSC owns the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC), and Loyzaga said that their task is to make sure that the stadium is fit for the players and the spectators.
“One of the requests of PFF is that PSC would inspect the venue and to make sure that the facilities are in shape for the people coming to Rizal for the Azkals,” said PSC commissioner Chito Loyzaga in Friday’s SCOOP forum.
“I think that the field is ready. Our objective is to really make Rizal Memorial meet the standard of the PFF and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation),” said Loyzaga.
SMC has committed to shoulder the renovation of the stadium with the installation of more individual seating at the covered area of the grandstands as well as fixing up the scoreboard.
“We appreciate the help of the private sector. Everyone is doing its share for this commitment. I hope that everyone follows suit not only for the rehabilitation of the football field but for the whole complex as well,” said Loyzaga.
The stadium was the home of Philippine football’s glory years in the 1950s and 1960s and was also a premier entertainment venue, such as when it hosted a Beatles concert in the 1970s.
Rizal Memorial hosted the 1981 and the 1991 SEA Games that saw a Norman Fegidero-led Philippine team reach the men’s football semifinals after a 1-0 group stage victory over Malaysia, the biggest accomplishment of the team before the Azkals.
The last time Rizal Memorial staged a notable international event was for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, although it didn’t host the football competitions as the men’s and women’s tournament was held at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City and the Marikina Sports Complex.
The PSC under the term of then chairman Harry Angping renovated the football field in 2010. Source