Ahead of the top-of-the-table clash between the Philippines and Thailand in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018, Panaad Park and Stadium has received some criticism from fans due to its relatively small size.
The stadium, actually situated in the middle of a park (hence the complete name Panaad Park and Stadium) is a modestly sized venue with a capacity of little under 10,000.
Such a venue is relatively a far cry from other more imposing stadiums within the ASEAN region such as the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Indonesia (capacity: 77,193), Rajamangala Stadium in Thailand (capacity: 49,722) and Bukit Jalil Stadium in Malaysia (capacity: 87,411).
With such attributes of Panaad Stadium, fans of other nations pointed out the small capacity asking why the Philippines decided to use it as the Azkals’ home stadium for Southeast Asian region’s highest profile tournament the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Despite its relatively small size Panaad still is a very worthy venue to host the tournament.
The Philippines relatively have a small football fanbase. During the 2016 edition of the Suzuki Cup, the Philippines actually played as host and the venue was at the more imposing Philippine Sports Stadium (which has a 20,000 capacity).
But given that its location (Bocaue, Bulacan in the outskirts of Metro Manila), the attendances have been saddening and measly.
Panaad though is in Bacolod in the island of Negros, where football has a better following compared to Manila.
And as shown in the first match, the turnout was much better.
With the status of football in the Philippines (as a still developing sport), the decision to host the games at Panaad seems to be the better option for now, despite the fan feedbacks from other nations.