Sunday, May 12, 2013

Fair Play: Global Force Cebu--setting the standard from the stands

A FEW weeks back, there was an informal online poll on which club has the most passionate supporters in the Philippines, and the runaway winner then was the passionate Ultras of Kaya FC.

I didn't join the online discussion because I haven't really seen how passionate the groups are in the United Football League and I also agree that among all of them, the Ultras Kayas, based on what I saw on some of the TV matches, seemed to be the noisiest bunch of fans.

Then I saw Global Force Cebu.

Make no mistake, without these bunch of folks, the atmosphere at the Cebu City Sports Center for the AFC President's Cup would have been as lively as that of a closed-door debate between Nancy Binay and Risa Hontiveros, and now, their presence in the game is greatly anticipated.

Led by Egay Salvacion, Mark Concha, Nina Fatima Kahlil, Pawikz Pogoy, King Lyndell Placencia, and a bunch of other passionate fans, they impressed everybody by singing and shouting for almost 90 minutes during Global FC's debut against Yeedzin FC in the Asian Football Confederation President's Cup.

I say almost 90 minutes because the group had about five 30-second breaks during the whole match, which they spent on their feet and prior the match, they marched from Fuente Osmena to the CCSC before the game.  They represented only two or three percent of the audience in that game but their voices dominated the stadium from kick-off to the final whistle.

I've seen a lot of "firsts" since the Azkals broke into mainstream consciousness and seeing Global Force Cebu perform last Wednesday was definitely a first.

"Awesome display of support from stadium fans tonight!" Dan Palami tweeted during the first game, and then, we could see him applauding the group and giving them two thumbs up from the Global bench.

Global FC coach Brian Reid, who was concerned about fan reception prior the games, had nothing but admiration for the group and so did the rest of the Global FC players.

If their first game performance was great, the performance in the second match was greater.  For their march from Fuente Osmena to CCSC, they were joined by Dan himself and some Global FC fans from Manila and Tacloban.

The visiting fans tried to join them in their chanting but I could see they were having a hard time keeping up as they were not used to chanting for the full 90 minutes on their feet.  They were also joined by the Blu-Haired Fanatic, who dressed himself in a yellow cape ala Super Global, and by Graeme Mackinnon, who also donned a costume.

And get this, when disaster struck Global in the eighth minute with that wicked goal from a corner kick, they didn't miss a bit, and at times, it seemed they had more energy than the Global FC players on the field.

"What's with Global Force Cebu? Pure energy! Just keeps going, and going, and going.  Can the team have some of your power juice?" Dan wrote on tweeter after that second game.

At half time, I saw some of them getting their power juice, one disallowed by the liqour ban but power juice or not, I'm confident the fans can do better in Global's third game against Dordoi FC.

What is their secret? I've been asked by a lot of folks from Manila and I really don't know the answer.  Perhaps, they are just grabbing the chance to show their support to their favorite club in the Philippines, or perhaps it's their way of showing that Global FC should have a UFL game in Cebu. Kaya vs. Global in Cebu, anyone?

Whatever their secret is, they have changed Cebu football with their presence in the stands.


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