More football pitches, more opportunities for aspiring players—that is what Philippine Azkals star player Phil Younghusband believes to be the way to grow football as a sport in the country.
And it is why he is so glad about the opening of the new Gatorade-Chelsea Football field in the sports adventure zone called Circuit Makati, located in the former Sta. Ana Racetrack in Makati city.
The British-Filipino striker says football has gained more popularity now among Filipinos, so having more fields to play on will be good to further promote this sport.
“Kailangan natin ng more football field sa buong Pilipinas,” stated Phil in an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other media during the opening of the blue-colored field on January 15.
He added, “I think it just creates more opportunities.
“In England, there are so many opportunities, especially in London.
“For me, this brings more opportunities here in Manila. There are also fields in Bacolod and the Visayas area, wala masyado dito sa Manila.
“We need more pitches, so this opportunity is great.”
Phil also thinks that having more pitches will help in keeping Filipinos interested in football.
“I think nag-peak tayo during the World Cup. I think, it’s level down now.
“The most difficult thing now is sustaining the popularity of football.
“That’s the challenge and that’s exciting.
“The more football fields and the more football programs that we have is the better.”
The blue pitch, in partnership with Chelsea Football Club Soccer School Philippines and Pepsi, occupies 10,000 square meters of Circuit Makati.
It is the first FIFA-sized blue football field in the country and is being poised to become the official training venue for both amateur clubs and national teams, especially since several major tournaments are coming up soon—the Clear Dream Match, Youth Leagues, and the United Football League.
The Younghusband Football Academy, established by Phil and his brother James, also plans to conduct football programs and clinics in this venue to hone the skills of young Filipino footballers.
Meanwhile, Phil said there are a lot of things to look forward to this year in the local football scene.
“Siyempre, we have the Challenge Cup and the Suzuki Cup. Sana manalo tayong lahat, di ba?
“Kailangang manalo because this is a big year in Philippine football, so we need to watch out for it.
“Especially sa Challenge Cup, kapag manalo sa Challenge Cup, and pumasok tayo sa Asian Cup, it’s the first time in Philippine history na we’re in the Asian Cup,” Phil ended.