Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fair Play: The faces for Cebu football

AFTER getting floored by the handsome faces of the Azkals, Gov. Gwen Garcia (who asked if being handsome was a requirement of the national team) said she’d like the Azkals back in time for the launching of a football program in Cebu this September.

Coach Michael Weiss, who also has his share of admirers who are a demographic above the shrieking Neil Etheridge fans, said as long as they get an invitation and they don’t have any commitments, they’d love to be back in Cebu.


The Azkals for another training camp? Sweet!!!

But for the launching of Cebu’s football program, I hope the province will also invite three guys who weren’t there during that courtesy call since I think they could give the perfect boost for the sport in Cebu.

Who are they? Leigh Gunn, Roy Jonsson and Chad Gould. The three, together with Paolo Pascual, could even be the faces of Cebu football.

Not too many folks know of Leigh, while Roy’s stock has been boosted a lot lately since he’s one of the starters of the Azkals.

Why them? Well, Roy and Leigh have roots in Liloan, while Chad traces his in Boljoon.

I’ve heard of Leigh ever since I started writing about the national team in 2001 but I’ve never seen him play. Chad, who’s mom is from Boljoon, said Leigh debuted for the national team as an 18-year-old and was trying to get a spot with the team bound for the World Cup qualifiers.

Leigh’s mom is from Liloan and he told me over Facebook that Mayor Duke Frasco is his cousin.

When I told him that the Cebu Football Association, together with the Cebu Province, is launching an ambitious program, he said he’s willing to be involved.

As for Roy Jonsson, I’ve been trying to contact him (but kept failing) ever since he told ANC in the first live interview of the Azkals conducted at 1 p.m., “Maayong buntag diha!”

Jonsson is one of the old reliables of the Azkals and spent his first eight years in Liloan. According to Paolo, a Cebuano with the training pool, he’s as bisdak as bisdak can be.

Paolo told me one funny tale about Roy shopping in Manila. When he was quoted a high price for a gadget, he blurted out, “Mahala pud ana oy.”

The seller reportedly said, “Oy, bisaya diay ka.” And gave him a much lower price.

And for the Cebu football program launch, I hope we can hear more of Roy Jonsson, Chad Gould, Leigh Gunn and yes, Paolo Pascual.

Gunn paved the way in the late 90s. Gould, who’s now with the beach football team of England, joined him as one the first Pinoys who learned their football abroad to join the team. Roy has been named to the 23-man lineup for the World Cup qualifiers and is going to be a regular fixture in the team, while Paolo, at 20, will be training for the U23 squad.

Paolo is also fast becoming the face of Cebu football, the one the fans point to and yell, “Kana taga Cebu na, Bisdak na!”

But, knowing how humble this lad is, I’m sure he won’t mind if the attention on Cebu football will be focused on Chad, Roy and Leigh.

So, how about it? Two guys who sacrificed for the sport when nobody gave a hoot and one guy who’s staying in the background when’s everybody’s a football expert these days as the faces of Cebu football?

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