Monday, November 19, 2012

Why I don't agree with UFL Cup final postponement

(UPDATE: Here's a point that was raised that throws the whole article out of the window. It seems I got a few things wrong.  Global, indeed can't field a complete team for the finals.  24-man squad, minus 9 or 10 for national duties, leaves them with only 14, three of whom are keepers.  One is suspended, so no subs.)

If, as I suggested, Global leaves the Azkals in the bench, They'd be far from from ideal strength against a full-strength Stallion.

Well, what to do when you get it wrong?  You say it as it is.  And since this has been posted online, I'll leave it here. ----ML)

DAN Palami  of Global FC, Nonong Araneta (and I'm not sure of his role) of Stallion FC are also the top two officers of the Philippine Football Federation.

And these guys’ involvement in UFL is good for the Philippine men's national team, because whenever there's a club and country conflict, they'd pick country.

Whether it’s good for the UFL, is another question.

I don't buy that reason for the postponement of the UFL Cup finals, if as the UFL says, it's for the country, then why schedule it on Nov. 19 in the first place?  The Suzuki Cup schedule was released months ago, and so was the Nov. 15 friendly.

However, I think, the reason they came up with is the best explanation for the UFL Cup finals postponement.

But do I agree with the postponement? Nope.

Two questions.  Could the UFL have insisted on having the finals on Nov. 19 and could Global and Stallion play? I think it’s a yes to both.

Global has shown it's more than just a team of Azkals, its second stringers--though, perhaps, it's wrong to call them that--got the club to the finals, I think playing one more game without the Azkals won't hurt Global.

But it would have hurt Stallion, though. If they beat Global, folks would say, they only beat Global because the Azkals weren't around, but if they lose, folks would say, "You can't even beat Global without their Azkals?"

But why postpone the finals, though?  The Stallions won't be decimated by country duties, Global, though hampered, again has shown it's still a strong team (BTW, after the Loyola win, it would be interesting to watch the Global scrimmages and see how the non-Azkals fare against the Global Azkals).

And to be honest, I really wanted to see an Azkals-less Global win the UFL Cup. Not only would that be a boost for Global, it would be a boost for club football in the country, as well.  Here’s a club that has structured itself in a way that, even if its Azkals are missing, it’s still potent.  That would teach the other clubs, too, to not rely on just a few key players and develop their bench.

The Azkals of Global and Stallion can cheer from the stands and be rested enough for the trip to Thailand on Tuesday and have four days’ rest for Saturday's game.

If it's concern that the absence of the Azkals may drag the ratings or attendance down, then, that's wrong.  The two most famous Azkals players--James and Phil Younghusband--are out of the finals.  If that's the case, what if--and I know Global won't do this--just to prove a point, Global would bench all the Azkals in a TV match, when there's no country conflict, would the UFL go to the Global bench and say, "Comeon guys, put in the Azkals!"

I think postponing the finals--after an epic semifinal--was a mistake.  Everybody wanted to see Global take on the Stallion.  Everybody thought it was supposed to be today.  I think it would have been a great curtain-raiser, to Saturday’s Suzuki Cup campaign.

Now, the finals will be on, when exactly? I’m sure the guys running programming at TV 5, also want to know.

I hope this will be the last time a UFL Cup final will be postponed.  With three years to go on a five-year contract, I think it’s time for the UFL to establish its own identity and not be beholden to the Azkals.

I said this once, and I’ll say this again.  To get to new heights, Philippine football needs the UFL.

The postponement of the final kills the momentum on the UFL Cup.

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