Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Trequartista Sweeper - Revisiting the non-football aspect of the Group Stage

Last night saw the final set of matches that comprised the UFL Cup's Group Stage matches. As such, we finally have our quarterfinal pairings from the twenty teams into eight as bracketed below.

With that said, it would be an opportune to revisit the past and reveal some things that pique my interest.

1. Venues.

It's very clear that Metro Manila has a clear problem with regards to available football pitches. The one time they played matches at Nuvali during the Group Stage, everyone (fans and most especially the players) bemoaned its state of wretched-ness. With the football facility in McKinley Hill still remaining under construction, the UFL has played at an additional five more venues during the Group Stage proper: in Rizal Memorial, the University of Makati, the Marikina Sports Park, ASCOM and Nomads.

Having been blessed by some weird twist of fate to watch matches on these different venues except in ASCOM, there are some things that can or can't be worked out. It is important that there exists a cooperative relationship between public institutions and the UFL / Football Alliance with regards to pitch maintenance. This is especially apparent with places where local government is involved (the city governments of Makati and Marikina, respectively).

You can probably say that the last few games held at the University of Makati were a little bit tough to watch, but as much as there is clamor for matches to be played at Rizal Memorial, the reality is that we need that particular pitch to be ready for certain competitions that had previously been scheduled, especially since we hosted and are to host an Asian qualifier.

Santi Araneta remarked yesterday that real estate officials have already inquired on certain areas being developed into football areas. Hopefully, the facility at McKinley would be finished by the end of the year, ditto for the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo.

Still, given our climate, there clearly is a need for artificial pitches. If not, then the grass pitches need to be maintained well. UFL commissioner Bonnie Ladrido remarked on the decent shape of ASCOM on Sunday, while Nomads looked great when Air Force and Sta. Lucia played that night. 

2. Information Dissemination.

Information is an important asset. Knowledge is something that matters for football fans, in particular with regards to updates on games and announcements. There were moments during the Group Stage where a definite announcement from the UFL could have solved matters. I recall a match involving Green Archers where people have been confused as to the announcement of kick-off of a particular match. It is admirable that the UFL has been trying their best to get the word out, especially now with the presence of a media officer who dispenses info on the website and on twitter, but it has be snappy and prompt. This will be apparent especially with regards to postponements, as seen by during the past weekend.

There is also a need for consistency with regards on game updates. That of course, will be the challenge of the one/s handling the UFL twitter account. This is something media as well as fans can help by also providing updates of the game if they are watching. Crowd-sourcing updates can be a good idea.

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