Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fair Play: The Queen City search

(This is my column for Nov. 14, written 12 hours before the game)
THE look of the footballers who showed up during the tryout for Queen City United  showed it all—these guys mean business.

And if there ever were any doubts as to what these guys were signing for, coach Mario Ceniza erased that for them.

“This is no longer your usual kind of football, this is a different level,” coach Mario said.

Division 2 in the United Football League is the club’s immediate target but forming a team for the second division could be the wrong way of looking at things, so the coach made sure those who were trying out knew that.

“We are not forming a team for Division 2. We will be forming a team that can compete in the first division,” he said. “Because that is the ultimate goal.”

And I tell you, during tryouts such as these, there usually is some bantering, or a few players cracking jokes, but that time, there wasn’t any.

The guys mean business.

Because the club is all business too.

“Once you make the club. We are going to be very strict. This is not the kind of game where you can play even if you don’t show up for practice. You have to be very disciplined and we are going to give you a set of rules that you have to follow to the letter,” coach Mario said.

I’m not sure what those set of rules are, but I’m pretty sure not skipping practice is one of them.

And for the UFL Cup? This team had daily practices at 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., right before and after their jobs.

It’s a schedule not all able-bodied folks could keep.

And it’s a schedule that the aspirants—some as young as 16 like Miguel Flores and Joey Uy—are ready to take on.

I only watched a few minutes of the scrimmage, so I wasn’t really able to see who stood out, but I liked what I saw in the game, which featured the aspirants in one side and the Queen City regulars in the other.

It wasn’t only Cebuanos who showed up, there were guys from Cagayan, and one all the way from Ghana, Isaac Agyei.

Agyei, an 18-year-old striker who is studying in Malaysia, told Sun.Star Cebu he is here on vacation with some of his friends and that he has played in the second and third-division in Ghana.

Since Ghana has made the World Cup, that should be something, right?

However, that was just the first day of the tryout, whether Cebu Queen City United really gets the team it wants remains to be seen.

JAKARTA. Wasn’t that quite a win against Laos, eh? Those two late goals by Joshua Beloya, man was that something.

Sure, it isn’t the first injury time miracle that we had—we had a 93rd minute equalizer against Laos in the 2010 Suzuki Cup qualifiers and two injury-time goals by Emilio Caligdong in a 2-1 win against Timor Leste in the 2004 Tiger Cup—but it was the first comeback that was aired live.

And man that was beautiful.

I hope the team carried the momentum against Myanmar yesterday.

By the way, did you know that one of the Europe-based Pinoys in the team spent time in Cebu?

Defender Jacques van Bossche, who saved our butts in the first half against Vietnam spent his early years in Cebu.

Here’s what his dad Johan, told me.

“Jacques went to school in Cebu-at the Marie Ernestine Talamban and at the Sacred Heart School.  This before we went back to Belgium, should be nice to meet his school friends again.”

Johan also told me that it was him who tipped the management team of Angelo Verheye and Jeffrey Christaens, who is one of the promising players in the SEAG team.


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