Let me first say that I am not expert, and I don’t have any first hand information and this is just my humble opinion, thoughts and impression based on the information from this article. (Again this is not in any official capacity and merely thoughts and opinions of my own)
According to Martinez “Not too many people can understand or accept that we have no football stadium that is acceptable to the AFF.” The Panaad Stadium (above) is our best one. And it has hosted the SEA Games in the past. Unfortunately it only has a capacity of 20,000 maximum and does not meet the requirements because it has “only 500 luminous lights, way below the FIFA standard of 1,200.”
The second problem has a solution and in fact, the required lights are already being installed. BUT the obvious problem of Martinez is the seating capacity, which cannot be solved as easily. Okay, I can accept that this is our own fault for not supporting and generating interest in football – hence we don’t have the infrastructure for it. (As a leader in Philippine football, shouldn’t Martinez note that he is partly responsible for not having a suitable venue?) BUT WHAT ABOUT HOLDING IT IN A NEUTRAL COUNTRY LIKE SINGAPORE?
“I don’t think a neutral country will be able to generate a crowd bigger than what Jakarta can,” said Martinez. “I don’t want our team to miss out on the experience of playing before 40,000 to 80,000 fans. I’m also thinking about the gate receipts. So I’ve decided as PFF president, to give Jakarta the right to host both our semifinal matches. This will now be an away-and-away series for us, no longer home-and-away.”
The impression that this article gave me is that it’s all about the money for the PFF president. But what about the freaking morale of the players when there are 80,000 Indonesians cheering against the Philippines during the Semi-finals?!? It seems like Martinez is only thinking of this one game, and trying to get as much money out of it. Instead of thinking long-term and the boost in interest in football if it were held in the Philippines or Singapore at the very least.
Does that mean Singapore doesn’t have a stadium that has a capacity of 80,000? But perhaps Martinez’ concern is more that the pinoys in Singapore will not fill up the stadium like the Indonesians will definitely fill it here in Jakarta. (Again let me emphasize that it’s all about cashing in one this one game)
And I can’t believe he’s taking credit for how well the team is doing. What an egotistical A**!
I can only hope that the Philippine team strengthens their resolve and not falter in the midst of the 79,900 Indonesians during the game (Optimistically there will be 100 Filipinos – I hope!) Though I am sure the Indonesian fans are going to be much, much more because those who cannot get tickets are going to be outside the stadium in full battle gear and shouting their war cries to the tops of their lungs. (I witnessed this with my own eyes in their game against the Malaysians, on our way out of the Laos – Thailand game and let me tell you – it was frightening indeed!)
Be strong Azkals because every one of the 230 Million Indonesians is going to cheer for their team. And I hope that in their own ways, Filipinos around the world give their support to the Philippine team by watching the game on TV, live streaming, getting updates via Twitter and the news. Even if you can’t be there personally, the love and support will be felt I am sure!
And shame on you Martinez for only thinking of the cash.
- Click here to read the full article on Martinez