PHILIPPINE men’s football team manager Dan Palami explained that lack of time forced him to drop the Philippine Stadium as venue for the Azkals’ semifinal home match in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup.
The Azkals boss had earlier said he was eyeing the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned 25,000-seat stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan as a possible host of the Filipino booters’ home game against Thailand on Saturday.
But time constraints, Palami said, forced the Azkals to turn to the ever-reliable 12,000-seat Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“Considering the proximity of the home game date, the logistical requirements and preparation might be that it will be too difficult to hold it in the new stadium,” Palami said.
“Personally, I would really want to play in a twenty-five thousand-seat stadium, of course, with twenty-five thousand people in attendance. But then again, with all the logistical requirements of a home game, with all the permits we have to get, maybe we’ll have to settle for Rizal for now.”
“Hopefully when we get to the Finals, maybe then we could talk about the Philippine Stadium,” he was quick to add.
Palami cited one factor that could favor the Azkals in using Rizal, which has a pitch that was recently turned into artificial from grass.
“Thailand is not really keen on playing on artificial pitch, so maybe that’s a good thing for us,” he said. “Most of the players we have on the team play on that turf for most time of the year.”
“The littlest of advantages we can get, then let’s go for it.”