Do not rush

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By Jack Biantan

Big Jack

Monday, February 14, 2011

LONDON -- The success of the Azkals has brought unprecedented attention to the long snubbed sport of football in our country.

If only Paulino Alcantara could rise from his grave and congratulate all the Azkals and hang a medal on the neck of the guy responsible for this feat, Dan Palami, he would be very glad to do so.

Their success has brought hope to the nation. The Azkals could no longer walk the streets without being mobbed by countless of shrieking fans.


Sponsors who used to ignore them have lined-up to get their endorsements. Government officials who did not recognize them now are willing to get their photos beside them.
The sports media, who used to know only basketball and Manny Pacquiao, now are trying to learn what an offside trap means.

It is the nature of man where everyone wants to enjoy and ride on the bandwagon of success that goes with it.

This is the best that ever happened to Philippine football and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) should strike while the iron is hot.

With so much resources now pouring in from left and right, the new PFF administration now has realized that it is now time to really set up its football development program which has been neglected in the past.

Now there is a plan for the PFF and Smart to launch a Philippine Premier League. Wait a minute, that fast already. Hey, guys, take it slowly.

First, the PFF should realize that running a football league which is national in scope would be a very taxing job. A very big job.

Let us not rush because rushing things fast creates waste. How many PFF-organized leagues in the past have gone to waste?

There is an ongoing league in Manila, the United Football League which is organised by the group Football Alliance.

Why not let this group organise the Philippine Premier League and PFF concentrate on their football development programs, organising seminars and age group competitions?

Let Dan Palami continue his work for the Azkals. There is so much to do in that side of our football community.

The Philippine Premier League should be community based or club based. The PFF should now help organize the clubs first and the government should help in building the infrastructures.

A football stadium, whether small or big, is the key to the success of a football league anywhere in the world.

How many standard stadiums do we really have now in our country? I could only count it on my fingers.

Bacolod has one, the Panaad stadium, the venue of the recent first leg of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup match against Mongolia.

Makati also has one, at the University of Makati. University of Life stadium in Pasig can also be a home field of one of the teams while Rizal Memorial stadium in Manila would also be a great venue.

Cebu has the Aboitiz fields at the North reclamation area, although it still needs stands. Forget the Cebu City Sports Complex. Its football field is like a dustbowl and it has not been repaired since it was rebuilt for the 1996 Palarong Pambansa. The Cebu City officials are shameful, still arguing on who will repair the stadium.

If we build our Philippine Premier League (PFL) like the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), do not hope for it to last that long.

The PBA is run by corporate sponsors, not by the community. How many PBA clubs have already folded up since it was established in 1976? How many of the original members are still in existence?

Let us just learn from the examples of the other football leagues from the other countries. The clubs have been there since time memorial. Their corporate sponsors just come and go.

Let’s not waste this opportunity to put football to the next level. Haste makes waste. Let us do this slowly but surely. GOD BLESS

Editor’s Note: Jack Biantan has been writing for the Sun.Star network of newspapers since 1991. He is presently working in London but he writes a regular sports column for Sun.Star – Cagayan de Oro.

Jack grew up in Victorias. We were schoolmates during our elementary days in Don Bosco. He later moved to Cebu and now he is London-based but he found his way home to Negros writing for Sun.Star – Bacolod.

Welcome aboard, Jack!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 14, 2011.


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