Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fair Play: Are all the wheels in sync in Don Bosco's football machinery?

THE Palarong Pambansa is the most difficult title to win in school football and now, Don Bosco Technological Center has a chance to win two after its elementary and high school teams won the Cviraa title recently.

Winning the Cviraa isn’t quite an easy feat but Don Bosco, especially its elementary team, has seemed to make it a habit these past few years and the latest triumph is yet another boost to the Don Bosco brand of football but beneath the veneer of invincibility, are there cracks in the program?

During a coaches meeting in the Sun.Star Cup, one of the organizers told one of the coaches, what’s wrong with you guys? Don’t you talk with each other?

It was just a simple matter, a copy of the schedule was given to one coach, whose questions regarding the tournament was answered. The same schedule and the same questions were then asked by another coach.

Na-unsa man mo?” Were the exact words.

Then, one time, one coach sought me out for an interview that never happened but during a chance meeting over a few bottles of beer, he gave out a litany of disappointments, parents interference and rivalry and what have you.

That was over a year ago.

Then you add two and two together...It seems over a year ago, there was a stretch when the once vaunted Don Bosco team couldn’t even win one title, losing what, six straight times to Sacred Heart School Jesuits-Ateneo de Cebu?

Are these cracks in the program or just the normal disagreements and politics maybe from a school that has so many teams and coaches?

The answer will come from those involved in the Don Bosco program themselves, and the solution, if needed, may come from the Don Bosco alumni, which is such an involved group when it comes to anything related to the school.

There are two other questions this development will make you ask. Is Don Bosco winning all these titles despite of the cracks? What more can the school achieve if there is a united front in the program?

Makes you think, does it?

CHALLENGE CUP. So, it’s Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Laos for us in the 2014 Challenge Cup in Maldives, where we are aiming for the crown so we can get a slot in the 2015 Asian Cup.

Can we do it? Well, based on the rankings, the odds favor us as at 127 and No. 17 in Asia, we are the highest in the group. Turkmenistan is at 129 and 18, Afghanistan is at 138 and 22, while Laos is at 156 and 31.

But the rankings really don’t matter during the group stage and they are but a reference. Just take a look at what happened in Vietnam, 2010?

Turkmenistan is a familiar foe, having lost to them 2-1 in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup semifinals that we led, 1-0, and getting even, 1-0, during the qualifiers last year in Manila. We haven’t played Afghanistan recently, having drawn them 1-1 in 2006 but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Laos is another familiar foe and we’ve played thrice losing once at home in Bacolod and drawing twice.

However, all those games happened pre-Suzuki Cup 2010.

I haven’t seen a schedule online but I hope we play Turkmenistan in our second match, as traditionally—that is if anything after 2010 is now a tradition—we’ve played better in the second day and all our wins over Vietnam came in Day 2.

But perhaps, if coach Thomas Dooley makes all the right moves and preparations, the schedule won’t matter.

May is going to be a very interesting month. It’s Challenge Cup time and it’s also the Palarong Pambansa.

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