Friday, February 10, 2012

Fair Play: Thirsty Cup and Cebu Queen City

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on Feb. 11)
IF YOU want the latest on the drama that is unfolding in Cebu football, you may move along now. Frankly, I’m tired of talking about an issue that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

Besides, there are other things worth tackling, like the Thirsty Football Cup and Queen City United’s game against Pachanga, which will both happen today.

Both, in a way, are linked. Or should I say, should be linked.

As the first event to offer the Players 6 division about six or seven years ago, the Thirsty Cup is where some of our most promising U12s and U14s today first joined a football competition.

I know for a fact, too, that the Cebu-based players in Queen City United had all played in the Thirsty Cup because six or seven years ago, when football wasn’t that popular, the festival was the only other regular footie event, aside from the Aboitiz and the collegiate tournaments.

And now, it has grown to be the country’s biggest in terms of participation.

These days, too, the promising youngsters know they have a future in the sport with the entry of the United Football League. After college, staying with football is now an option.

And thanks to the guys of the Cebu Amateur Football Club, we have the Cebu Queen City United in the UFL second division and this team that is carrying Cebu’s pride in the country’s premier league will be taking on Pachanga today in a match that will be aired live over Aksyon TV at 2 p.m.

Cebu’s young players are lucky with Queen City around because the option for a football career is open.

“We want to give Cebuano footballers a chance to make football their career,” CAFC’s Ricky Dakay told me last year.

And it is a statement that’s costing the club, hundreds of thousands of pesos.

The club could have easily hired Cebuanos who are already in Manila to form the team and could have slashed 80 percent of its expenses for its weekly flights to and from the capital.

But they didn’t.

By the way for their game against Pachanga I’m going to do a Michael Weiss and say don’t expect too much.
Pachanga is the top team in Division 2 with a perfect 12 points in four matches and could easily be in the top three in Division 1. It features Freddy Gonzales, the first Pinoy to play in the Vietnam League, who, in his prime could give Phil Younghusband a run for his money—both in scoring goals and scoring girls.

The coach is Norman Fegidero, who isn’t a stranger to Cebu football. Back in 2007, Coach Norman brought his famous bend and sent a low curling free kick past Don Bosco to win the P40,000 top prize in the Cebu Interclub.

In their first encounter in the UFL Cup last year, Cebu Queen City, despite playing its best football, still ended up looking at the wrong end of a 4-0 rout.

But, like Weiss, I think “Obviously our primary goal is to win. That would cause a tsunami across (Philippine football).”

By the way, I know they are still planning it, but I hope to see a Cebu Queen City youth team soon. In one of our early talks, Coach Mario
Ceniza said they need a farm team because as a club in the professional ranks, it’s where you get your players.

It would be great to see a Cebu Queen City United youth team play in the Cebu Interclub Under 17, against the only other UFL team that I know that has an academy, Kaya FC.

And if Cebu Queen City United youth takes on Kaya FC youth in Cebu this year, who knows? Next year, the rest of the Division 1 clubs will be fielding their youth teams and the Cebu interclub won’t be just one of the top competitions for men’s clubs in the Visayas.

It’s going to be the only competition for UFL youth teams.

Yes, I’m getting way too ahead but speculating about that is more fun than speculating about who runs in next month’s elections.
Let’s go Cebu!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Nomads SC also has a reserve team which is in the same division as Kaya Elite in the Weekend Futbol League.