Football pitch soon to rise in Laguna

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 28 2013 06:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2013 02:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is seeking to finalize an agreement for the lease of a five-hectare land in Sta. Rosa, Laguna that would be the site of a new artificial turf under the Goal 3 Project of the International Football Federation (Fifa).

PFF acting general secretary Edwin Gastanes said the federation, along with Fifa development officer Domeka Garamendi, had already made an ocular of the site, and negotiations with the land owner are already underway.

"We hope to finalize our proposal to the owner soon so that an artificial turf can be built. There will be dorms and other facilities, (too) and it will be the training center for national teams," Gastanes said.

The Laguna site will replace the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium as the new venue for the Fifa-funded $500,000 Goal project. The PFF and Rizal’s administrator, the Philippine Sports Commission, had an earlier deal but this fell apart due to the issue of control of the Rizal. The PFF thus looked elsewhere even as the PSC said it would convert Rizal’s grass field into an all-weather turf on its own, making it a venue for both football and rugby.

According to Gastanes, there are actually two pending Fifa-approved Goal Projects in the country. Aside from the yet-to-be-started Goal 3 Project being eyed in Sta. Rosa, a pitch is being constructed in Valencia, Bukidnon under the Goal 4 Project. Featuring a main field and two practice pitches in a 1,400 square meter land, this will serve soon as a regional football training center.

"It will be the largest stand-alone football facility in the country," said Gastanes of the Bukidnon facility, which is expected to be finished by April.

The PFF executive said with Project 4 (Bukidnon) nearing completion, Fifa is rushing the federation to start with the Project 3 (Sta. Rosa) already.

"We're preparing a conceptual masterplan and we hope to finalize the choice of Sta. Rosa (as project site) very soon because Fifa is on our backs. They've already approved the grant last year," he said.