HERE'S an interesting comment from a reader who watched the Azkals match at the Philippine Sports Stadium last Thursday. He agreed that we had our A-team, but the real problem in the match was the 12th man, the missing home crowd.

“It’s a pity that the crowd was not present. We were officially only about 6k spectators and to make matters worse there were about three to four groups cheering differently. So the home factor has not been a factor for the Azkals which is why I am commenting,” he wrote.

Where to hold the Azkal matches is always a tricky question because each of the previous venues has something the other venues don’t and lack something the other venues has.

Manila has the stadiums and support facilities (hotels, international flights) but doesn’t have the crowd; Bacolod has the perfect venue and the crowd but doesn’t have direct flights and I was told that transferring broadcast equipment was costly; Cebu has the crowd and the support facilities but doesn’t have a field.

So, where does that leave us?

Those 6,000 who trooped to the PSS to cheer on the Azkals deserve our commendation, especially those who traveled from the provinces, but having 6,000 people in a 25,000-seater stadium doesn’t look nice.

Where should our next home game be? Bacolod or Manila? Well, I hope the PFF considers Bacolod next time, since the mayor Monico Puentevella is one passionate supporter of the game and the team, he can marshall the LGU resources for the hosting job. Of course, it might be an inconvenience to the visiting team with the additional travel but hey, that might work for us, right?

Panaad is also the letter-sender’s top choice.

“If Cebu had a stadium that could fit around 15k I would have pushed for Cebu. I pity Coach Dooley that he hasnt experienced a sold out game. The only sold out game that I was a part of was the 2012 Suzuki cup and it was amazing. I just hope the next game would be in Panaad. Im a Manileno but I am an Azkal fan too that’s why Panaad should be the next venue,” he wrote.

The next home game is on Sept. 8, so that should leave enough time for the PFF to grapple with that question, “Should we go to Panaad next?”

UNUSUAL REQUEST. I caught the tailend of the interview of Cebu City Sports Commission chairman Ed Hayco over DYAB last Saturday and as usual, the dynamic chairman was talking about his pet project--the grassroots programs offered at CCSC.

When we first wrote about this back in 2010, it seemed an impossible target but of course, we all know what happened since then. Armed with volunteers and the “can-do” spirit, the CCSC has started a sports program that offers free training to kids of all backgrounds. It has since expanded that program to include a swimming a clinic for the Badjaos and a running clinic for the kids in Guba.

The Philippine Sports Commission has also adopted the CCSC model as the ideal program for all LGUs. But of course, even if you provide the template and the funds any LGU that wants to have a similar program must have what Cebu City has—an army of volunteers.

Anyway, the chairman was asked--in one of the final questions of the interviewer who can’t seem to stop asking--what help he needs from the public.

Anyone would ask for funds or donation, that’s the default reply, right? But the chairman asked for the kind of help that epitomizes the grassroots program of the Cebu City Sports Commission. He asked for the listeners’ time and expertise. If they can coach kids, they’ll be welcome to help the kids at the Sports Institute. That’s as personal a donation can get.

Of course, he also appealed for those who have spare sports equipment gathering dust to donate it to kids who really need it.

So, if you got the equipment and the talent, why not check the Sports Institute. I guarantee you, you’ll life will change.