Limpag: World Cup in Cebu

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SunStar Limpag

When I learned that Manila was picked as host of the inaugural Fifa Futsal Women’s World Cup I thought that meant I’ll be making a trip to the Big City, not a favorite thing to do. I often decline invitations to go to Manila, even for home games of the national team.

But for this one, I thought I’d make an exception.

However, I learned that the PFF is looking at holding some of the games outside the big city and Cebu is one of the candidates. It’s definitely a challenge for the Central Visayas Regional Football Association.

Rodney Orale, the CVFA president, confirmed that Cebu is indeed being considered as a venue and they are busy identifying venues that fit the strict requirement for Fifa, which include a 50-meter by 30-meter match hall that is only 45 minutes away from the hotels.

Oh boy, I hope the Singapore-like improvements of Cebu City is finished by the time the World Cup is in town.

This a major event, one that I hope will involve a partnership with the private and public sectors. For this year, Gov. Gwen Garcia has marshaled the support of the tri-cities for Cebu City’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa and I hope something similar can be done for the World Cup.

Foreign fans are surely expected to come in droves as futsal is almost as popular as football in football-manic countries.

And since this is the first edition, Fifa is expected to go all out in promoting it worldwide, so being picked as host is a big boost for Cebu’s tourism industry.

And if we get lucky and we get to host the games of the top five women’s teams in the world -- Brazil, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Colombia -- it would be a big bonus.

It’s a great surprise to know that our neighbor Thailand is No. 6 in the world, which shows that with the right program, Asean teams can rise to the top.

It’s a long way to go for us but I hope hosting the Fifa Women’s Futsal World Cup can spur interest in the sport, considering how easy it is for our thousands of basketball courts to be converted into futsal courts.

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