MY friend Bob Guerrero of Rappler revealed some interesting developments in our domestic league, which will be re-branded as the Philippine Premier League (PPL)next year. Aside from a target of eight to 10 teams, the new guy in charge are planning to bring the teams to the provinces, where interest in the sport is higher compared to in Manila.
Among the targets is Cebu and they plan to have the teams here for three weeks for matches, fan interaction and the like.
That’s interesting and I think that’s a good move to get the football communities outside of Manila involved in the league.
But this time around, I hope the PPL will do a better job at coordinating with and listening to the local community so everything will be smooth.
One of the biggest adjustments we had to do when Global Cebu still played its home games in Cebu was when we learned just three weeks before our annual tournament that the PFL scheduled a Global vs. Ceres match two days after our two-day seven-a-side football festival.
There was no conflict of schedule for sure but I knew that a football field two days after a small-sided festival isn’t the best picture you want to present to the national league.
So we had to reschedule our tournament and inform everyone. That Global and Ceres basically played a glorified scrimmage added to the disappointment.
The only consolation was when the home fans booed both teams to show their displeasure, showing them that they are not your average fans.
But back to the idea at hand. If the new league wants to have games in Cebu, that’s great. But this is Cebu, a three-month advance notice would be perfect.
The primary reason of course is to secure and prepare the venue, which I assume would be the Cebu City Sports Center, the country’s most used sports facility.
Aside from the thousands of joggers and fitness enthusiasts, there are martial arts practitioners, dancers, volleyball players and sepak takraw players who use the facility. Heck, I even saw a bunch of people training with light sabers one time.
There’s the state of the field of course and we all know the CCSC pitch doesn’t look good to put it mildly. Oh, and yeah, don’t expect the local government to spend for the field rehab, so the PPL better be prepared to open its purses.
Will the fans come in droves for the matches? I think so, whether it will be Global, Kaya, Ceres or Davao.
I think the Stallions also have some fans here due to their connection with some players. Besides, there are a lot of residents in Cebu who have roots in Davao, Iloilo and Bacolod, so the visiting teams will still have their own fans here.
The local football community is united too, and there is a strong interest in having the league prosper because having a domestic league is one of our dreams.
Heck, I’ve met a lot of “what’s happening to Global” queries in the past year that I’ve stopped answering them. I also don’t know what to tell them.
So yes, the plans of the PPL are laudable. Let’s wait if these will push through.