Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mackinnon to leave Global FC

(This is the draft my report, which I hoped I didn't have to write, for Sun.Star Cebu on Feb. 20)
A DAY after a stunning win over undefeated Stallion Gilligan’s in the United Football League, Dan Palami and Global FC will have to deal with another surprise.

An even bigger one—the loss of their coach, the former Cebu-based Australian Graeme Mackinnon.

“I’ve resigned from Global,” Mackinnon simply said when he met with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

Citing family concerns, the 65-year-old coach who took Global FC to the semifinals of the UFL Cup and to second place after six games in the league, said he’s told Palami about his plan weeks ago.

“I’ve lost the fire in me. I feel I am not the perfect man for the job,” Mackinnon said. “Sendong really affected me. It really hit home with the fragility of things and I came to the realization that I have neglected my family for so long and it’s time to return to my family again. It’s time to go home and fall in love with my wife all over again.”

Mackinnon, whose last game as head coach ended the unbeaten run of Stallion Gilligan’s,  also played a role in organizing the match between the Azkals and CF Madrid, which raised funds for the victims of Typhoon Sendong.

Global FC was not the first coaching stint of Mackinnon and he also missed most of the childhood of his daughter when he was based in Cebu from the late 80s until 2003, when he returned to Australia.

“The difference between then and now is because of the technology. Back then we just wrote letters, now I get to see them every week online,” said Mackinnon, who added he wants to see more and take care of his granddaughter Isabelle. “I’m 65, you never know how many sunsets you’ll see.”

For his part, Palami said he is sorry to see the coach leave and was even hoping that he would change his mind. Mackinnon first told Palami of his plan before the team manager left with the Azkals for their training camp in Dubai.

“There’s too much respect between us that goes beyond football. I would always support him and I don’t want football to stand in the way of his being happy,” said Palami.

Palami said he was more than satisfied with how Mackinnon handled Global in his brief stint in the UFL.

“I give him an A plus. I’ve seen his dedication to the job, I’ve seen how he handles the player and that is talking from the point of view of an owner of the club, and not just a friend,” said Palami.

Mackinnon said he doesn’t have a written contract with Palami.

“My contract was ‘I will leave if I get sick of it or if he (Dan) gets sick of me.’ I’ve been really lucky twice in football. First with Michel (Lhuillier) and now with Dan. There’s more than the employer-employee relationship and it’s more like I’m part of the family,” said
Mackinnon, who first met Dan during the Feb. 9 match between the Philippines and Mongolia.

Palami said he and his former coach will maintain their friendship and he has even invited Mackinnon and his wife Tessie to return to the Philippines for his brother’s wedding this summer.

“We’ve only been friends for a year and the relationship is over and above football.  Sometimes I feel part of the family and to be accepted that much, I feel humbled.”

Mackinnon said that though his family in Australia will be elated by his return, they will have mixed-feelings.

“They know what it means when I go home in the middle of a tournament. It means the fire in me is gone,” said the coach, who also steered Cebu to its first national football title in 1988.

Since Global will have a short break, Palami said he will use the time to find a coach that would “approximate what Graeme has done.”
Mackinnon said he hopes the senior players in the team like Yu Hoshide and team captain Badrelin Elhabbib will take over a bigger leadership role now that the team currently has no coach.

The Australian coach, who is set to leave for Brunei to represent Palami in the Bolkiah Cup, said he feels happy and lucky to be part of the recent football renaissance in the country.

“Back then, we had more dogs than people in the stand. Now, there’s so much passion, crowd participation and involvement. I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out,” said Mackinnon, who admitted he never really got settled in in Manila.

“Everything was done to make me settled in, it’s just that there are overriding family ties,” he said. “I’m happy for the experience.”

Mackinnon said he plans to return to Cebu next year for the 25th anniversary of their team’s victory in the men’s national open.


Craig Burrows said...

In a word, respect. But you will be missed my friend.

sereena joy said...

aww...great loss for global, but family always comes first. yes, even before football. :)

k'dan was lucky to have you coach graeme. wishing you many great apo days with izzie! :)

sereena joy said...

aww...great loss for global, but family always comes first. yes, even before football. :)

k'dan was lucky to have you coach graeme. wishing you many great apo days with izzie! :)

Mike Limpag said...

Graeme's future APO days will be in person. Hehehe