Friday, June 29, 2012

Fair Play: Best ending to the best far

FOR those who missed the live telecast of the UFL matches last Tuesday, you sure missed a great moment in Philippine football--our very own Championship Tuesday.

No, it was no Game 7 or a knockout match, which is what most Pinoy fans think a championship day is, it was the Kaya vs. Stallions and Global vs. Loyola matches in the UFL.

Heading into the match, and with 34 games between them, only two points separated Kaya and Global, and they were set to take on clubs which, just a few weeks ago, seemed headed for a championship showdown of their own.

Though I'm a fan of Global, I've also followed Kaya ever since I saw the team in action during the Alaska Football Cup back in 2005 and I said, last Tuesday, that I wanted Kaya to win the first match, which was not what the other Global fans wanted.

A Kaya loss would have meant the Global vs. Loyola game would be nothing but a mere formality, and there's no excitement in that.

Kaya was first to take to the field, and a Nate Burkey strike against the Stallions, which allowed the second-fewest goals in the UFL next to Global and Kaya, had Global relegated to second place, needing only a point to clinch the title.

There was some testy moments, including a goal overturned for offside but Global held on a 1-1 draw, and in the final 10 minutes, they had 11 men behind the ball, while effectively shutting out Phil Younghusband.

There were some funny moments, too, like Global keeper Jerome Slyvain Etoundi getting injured with nobody near him but before

that, Etoundi was a solid wall and only made one mistake that led to the 76-minute equalizer.

Kaya and Global finished with 42 points and conceded 17 goals each, but the Global offense churned out 49 goals, while Kaya had 30 and I'm sure, next season, Kaya will remember this stat and will pile on the goals every time it has the chance.

Getting into the big league with Kaya and Global is what Queen City United is aiming for next season and to get there, the club has to spend some serious cash on players, so they can keep them.

But how do you recoup such investment?  As of now, because of the folks behind the club, they sure can afford it but I think the club would benefit, too, if they assign a marketing officer whose sole job would be to find from sponsors.

When you say sponsors, you automatically think of the big companies that drop, say P100,000 for a monthly deal, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Yes, the club must look at getting the Cebu companies involved, but it can also get pledges from individuals, too, say P1,000, or even P500 a month and if it can sign up 100 pledges, that’s going to be quite a sum that will help the club in the UFL.

In return, the club could give these individuals a replica jersey, entry to exclusive dinners the club hosts for the Azkals, or for its own players as well.  

Last season, the club had ample local support and next season, getting the local community more involved would mean greater support for Cebu’s only team in the country’s own premier league.

The UFL, based on this season, is here to stay and for Philippine football to progress, it has to have its own domestic league and for Cebu not to be left behind, we have to maintain our participation in the league.

Queen City’s stint in the UFL is a game changer, an unprecedented move clubs from Bacolod, Iloilo—traditional football hotbeds—hasn’t done.  And I think once clubs from the other provinces see Queen City coming up with a scheme that will sustain its stint in the UFL, they’ll think about copying it too.

And that will only benefit Philippine football.

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