Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fair Play: The CAFC Interclub Men's Open anomaly

I’VE covered the CAFC Men’s Interclub since 2001, and I’ve had lots of good memories in the tournament, including a drunken episode when the loser turned out to be the winner in my story.

But one thing I always remember in the men’s open of the event is that despite the prize money offered—and the Interclub is the only tournament I know that offers one—the tournament rarely attract a field big enough for two groups.

But that’s not the case, this year. Ten teams--Hiroshi FC, Hijos de Pueblo, Erco, Camella FC, FCIC in Group A, Queen Ciy, DMC College Dipolog, DBU FC, SRFC and SWU in Group B—are joining the event.

Does this field, signal the return of many former players who have been away for quite some time?  The Camella FC team intrigues me, could this be the first of many community-based teams, where former players lace up their boots anew to play the game?

For most tournaments, it’s usually the age groups that see a surge of participants, due to an increasing interest of the youth in the sport, but in this case, it’s the “age group” of the dads and once young that sees a surge.  I hope this trend continues when the Aboitiz Cup comes around so we’d have more entries in the Men’s Open.

I hope, too, that interest in the CAFC Men’s Open grow bigger next year, that BPO and teams from Mepz, also sign up because as of now, these teams are limited to joining seven-a-side festivals.

And it was a team from Mepz that won the tournament when I first covered it in 2001—Exas Philippines coached by Graeme Mackinnon and featuring mostly former M. Lhuillier players.

It was also that time when I had Don Bosco losing, when they won a semifinal, but in my defense, aside from being a 21-year-old correspondent, I was a USC student who was in school during my birthday. (And when you’re in college, beer comes first before class and work, so for birthdays, anything is excused, including wrong winners.)

For this interclub, I hope Camella does well and Southwestern University, too. SWU doesn’t join Cesafi tournaments but it has enough population of foreign players to join non-school based events and athletic director Ryan Aznar supports the team in these tourneys.

I hope to see Ryan in the interclub next week and I hope SWU’s interclub stint will convince SWU to join Cesafi football, again, as SWU was the last to win the CAAA footie title.

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