Friday, April 26, 2013

Fair Play: BRO Cup joins 9-a-side revolution

EVER since Neil Montesclaros, Charlie Page and the rest of the Don Bosco alumni started the football festival craze with the Thirsty Cup almost 10 years ago, seven-a-side games have always been the norm.

Of course, you can't have a full 11-a-side, 90-minute match in a two-day festival, since that defeats the purpose but seven-a-side matches also had its disadvantages as well as advantages.  Seven-a-side matches, are essentially just competitive versions of the drills coaches have during practices, and luck also plays a major factor, that's why most finals matches--where sometimes teams of unequal quality meet--end in shootouts.

Back when the Thirsty Cup started, there weren't that many players, too, so seven-a-side matches, especially for the younger age groups which it pioneered, were the way to go.  Now, even with nine-a-side matches, the BRO Cup was even able to attract 170-plus teams.

Now, a new player in the football landscape wants to change that. The BRO Cup, is adopting the nine-a-side format for the younger age groups and the full 11-a-side match for the older age groups.

"Mas lingaw ang passing ani," Glenn said during the press con.

For young players not good enough to make their school team's Aboitiz Cup, Cebu City Olympics or Cesafi lineup, this could be the first time for them to play an 11-a-side match in a competition.  Since this won't be the 90-minute version, there are still some variations in the rules but still, as Chieffy Caligdong said during the press con, the kids will really get to learn a lot from a format like this.

The BRO Cup isn't the first to adopt this move, last year, Don Rabanes and his group have been organizing festivals and leagues in Cebu and I think this going to be the norm in future festivals.  I believe after getting a bite of the nine-a-side bug, coaches and players are going to suggest adopting this format in future festivals.

Of course, there is this one concern that must be addressed in a nine-a-side and 11-a-side festivals, and that's the pressure on the referees.  The BRO Cup is anticipating that by assigning three per match in the older divisions and that must be a must for future tournaments that want to adopt this.

By the way, I also learned from Raffy Musni during the press con that the Aboitiz group has done some minor renovations on its Aboitiz Sports Field, but do you know what we all agreed during that press con? It would be perfect if one of Cebu's biggest companies would go all out and put up an artificial turf in the Aboitiz Sports Field.

If they are going to spend for the renovation, why not go all out for a full artificial pitch before Megaworld or another group beats them to it? 

"Mahal lagi gamay, pero kanang artificial pitch wa gyud na'y problema," Raffy said.

Besides, if the Aboitiz has, in the future, other plans for the Aboitiz Sports Field, it can just roll up the artificial pitch and transfer it.

There are five artificial pitches in Manila and none in Cebu but I’m pretty sure one will be put up anytime soon. 

Who knows? Maybe even the Cebu City Sports Center could get an artificial pitch.  The City spent some P20 million for the renovation of its rubber oval, because it’s one of its best income-generating facility, just imagine how much the City could earn if it has an artificial pitch and charges the appropriate fee for it?

Heck, we can have daily football festivals!


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