THERE was a time when Cebu City was the envy of the Philippine football community for having the best field in the country. It was in 2012, when we hosted the first Fifa international match between the Philippines and Singapore. To be honest, I had my doubts the field would be ready as I saw its state just barely a month before we were supposed to host the game.
Sure it was green but whether it was up to international standards was another question.
However, all my doubts were erased in the week leading to the friendly. We had stripes! And having a field that had stripes was such a novelty that a photo went viral.
Just imagine, the Cebu City Sports Complex (CCSC) dust bowl now had stripes! That was just one of the numerous reactions. Sadly, that pristine pitch lasted only a couple of weeks. Aside from the friendly, the 1st SunStar Football Cup was the only other football event to benefit from it because as the local football community is only too familiar, the pitch at the Cebu City Sports Center suffers an annual death every December when the Sinulog stage is put up.
Though there were attempts in the past to rehabilitate it, it’s always contingent to the fact that it will die come December. Why waste money rehabilitating a field that will only live for 10 months? That has always been the reasoning whenever efforts to repair the field is raised at City Hall.
But not anymore. They’ve been saying for years that the Sinulog will be moved to the South Road Properties (SRP) and finally, Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella has decided to have it there, next year. That means the strange green thing that is the CCSC football pitch will remain green at the start of the year.
The recent lockdown meant there were no football events, allowing the field to rest for a long time since it was put up. A recent photo shared by Francis Ramirez showed it is covered in green and the brown patches are gone.
We got a rehabilitated field by accident. I know sports is still low in the totem pole in 2021 and I do know that we paid a high price to have such a field, but I do hope City Hall will continue to hold the Sinulog at the SRP and will let the football association take the lead in maintaining the field.
It may not mean much to the city’s coffers, but once national competitions resume, the CCSC having a pristine pitch may put the city at the forefront at hosting national youth competitions. I know for a fact because of what the then-Cebu Football Association and Central Visayas Regional Football Association have done, the PFF wants to hold events here. But the absence of a decent field has always been a hindrance.
Accidentally green, the CCSC might give a kick start to sports tourism.