Sunday, January 06, 2013

Fair Play: Cebu Queen City's 'home debut'

DURING the very first televised game involving a Cebu football team on national TV, I was with a bunch of fans who trooped to a bar mid-afternoon and saw the Cebu Queen City United get their breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between handed to them by a talented Stallions FC squad in an embarrassing and humiliating 8-0 whitewash.

Cebu Queen City United looked pitiful in that UFL Cup match, paying for their silly mistakes, while Stallions played perfectly, and Ruben Doctora Jr.---who shone in Cebu during the PFF Adidas Under 19 championship in 2004--had a brilliant goal of the year candidate.

In their next game, the CQCU boys didn’t allow as many goals, but they didn’t score one, either. Against Pachanga--which featured former national team striker and current Bright Academy coach Joshua Fegidero on defense--the team lost, 4-0, but had several clear chances on goal.

I remember that time, UFL commentator Ryan Fenix asked me how to say “It’s a great goal” in Cebuano and we could sense he was so eager to use that line, what with the numerous goal mouth chances Cebu had, screaming “Almost a goal” three or four times.

Those two losses were part of Cebu Queen City United’s 2011 debut in the UFL Cup and since then, the team has done a better, finishing third to Pachanga and Diliman in the second division in 2012. Only a few players from that UFL Cup team were retained, and the team has had a few signees, including a player from Africa and one from Japan.

And this Saturday, they will finally have that home debut.
Sure, the team has been playing in the Aboitiz Cup, but you really can’t consider that a home match when you’re against fellow Cebu-based teams, right?

This Saturday at 3 p.m., the Cebu Amateur Football Club-operated team will be facing old tormentor Pachanga FC in the Smart Club championships round-of-16.  Pachanga also has quite a history.  Some Kaya FC players bolted the team to form the squad, which, in turn got revamped abruptly when it won the 2012 Div. 2 after it was bought by Diliman FC, which finished second in Div. 2.

So, how will Cebu Queen City fare against Pachanga?

I really can’t say much, and the one time I saw the team in action during the Aboitiz Cup last month, I wasn’t really that convinced.

Against an overmatched team that was backpedaling for most of the match, Cebu Queen City had almost 10 misses for every goal in their 2-0 win over Toledo.  I think, in a one-minute sequence, the team miss three straight chances in a goal mouth scramble.

Against Pachanga, their strikers have to be better.

However, playing at home will give Cebu Queen City the edge as the Pachanga players might have visions of that pristine pitch that hosted the Singapore vs. Philippines friendly game when they think of the Aboitiz Sports Field, the venue of the Smart Club match.

In the Aboitiz Sports field, defense won’t foil your ground-passing, but the field, which has depressions big enough to swallow a weak pass.

I’ll be there, of course, and I expect most of those who watched the live telecast of Cebu Queen City’s humiliation against Pachanga back in 2011 to be there, too.

As some of them said back then:

Ato ni bai!

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