Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fair Play: Queen City's target in '13: Division 1

(This is the draft of my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu on June 14)
Cebu Queen City's first stint in the United Football League will result to a third-place finish in Division 2 for the league's non-Manila based team.

Considering the logistical nightmare it has to go through weekly, it's not bad for a team of part-time footballers based in the Queen City of the South.

Take for example that 4-4 draw they had against Union International last May 12, which came just a few weeks after beating  the same team, 4-1, in the first round.

The flight delay meant Queen City had less than an hour to prepare, and have lunch, before kickoff and after 22 minutes, the team was down, 2-0. Queen City fought back to 3-2 but trailed anew, 4-3, before Junard Aguilar got the equalizer three minutes from time.

Now that’s character.

What’s the plan for next year?  It’s No. 1 of course and the team will be open to hiring foreign players.

“We have already proven that Cebu is a hotbed for football,” team owner Ricky Dakay told me the other day. 

This year’s stint was also to give chance to our locals to play in the UFL and next year’s stint would be to show that Cebu has more to offer.

And Ricky, whose company it seems has constructed half the buildings in Cebu, sure can afford new players.  He can afford, too, giving his young guys a scholarships.

“I’ve always encouraged them to finish their studies because once their career is over, they’ll have a fallback,” said Ricky, who has given many local players a job in his company.

Raffy Musni, the team manager who has become some sort of a father figure of the players, said he monitors the grade of their student-players and he bragged to the team when one of them began to do well at school.

And Ricky’s willing to pay for their studies in any school, though the University of San Carlos alum would prefer if they study at his alma mater.  And because Cesafi has archaic rules when it comes to player transfers, this is not so the Queen City guys can play for USC, this is so the Queen City players can have quality education.

Where can you find a club that cares that much?

Only in Cebu.

And next year, when they return to Division 2, they will be aiming for the top.

“No. 3 gud ta karun, alangan naman mu-target ta pa-ubos. No. 1 gyud ta,” Raffy said.

And that’s a fair target. 

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