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PFF plans to hold P9M 4-nation meet

BACOLOD, Philippines – The Philippine Football Federation is seriously looking at the possible hosting of the third edition of the Long Teng Cup, a four-nation tourney among Phl, Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese Taipei, either here or in Manila around September or October. 

PFF president Nonong Araneta said Chinese Taipei, host of the first two tournaments, has begged off from staging the 2012 tourney and asked if the Filipinos can assume hosting chores.

“We have to look at the costs first because it’s not in the PFF budget. But if we can get sponsors who can spend for everything for the Long Teng Cup hosting, then we’ll hold it here in the country,” said Araneta, whose group has actually initiated talks with prospective sponsors for the four-team, single round-robin format tourney spread over six days.

He said early estimates for the staging were pegged at P9 million, inclusive of billeting for the participating teams and other logistical matters like security, if it were to be held at Rizal Memorial.

Araneta said the cost might be less if the Long Teng were to be played at Panaad here.

“Another concern is if Rizal, which is scheduled to be converted into an artificial turf by July, would be ready in time for the Long Teng Cup. If we can’t do it at Rizal, then we can hold it here in Panaad. There are also existing facilities here that can serve as practice field and I think more people will watch the competition here,” said Araneta.

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The Phl has been a regular participant in the Long Teng Cup, which has been held in Kaohsiung since its inception in 2010. The Azkals placed third in the inaugural competition and improved to second behind back-to-back titlists Hong Kong last year, fired up by the exploits of Golden Boot winner Chieffy Caligdong.

Azkals team manager Dan Palami welcomed the possible hosting of the Long Teng Cup, which would serve as their final preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup slated in November.

“I would prefer to use the Long Teng as one of the matches where we are able to give the local-based players exposure they would need against other teams,” said Palami. 

“But of course, if by that time some players based in Europe would be able to come over, they would be most welcome to join the team,” he added.

Phl XI played the Guam Matao in an international friendly last night at Panaad, largely considered the place where the Azkals’ popularity actually took off.

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