Saturday, April 05, 2014

Fair Play: Bro Cup: A footballer's tournament

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 5 issue)
WHEN I heard of the Bro National Tournament for the first time, my first thought was why would a religious organization hold a football tournament?

Of course, the BRO in the name doesn’t refer to a religious organization but is simply the initials of the organizers--Keith Buyco, Glenn Ramos and Rodney Orale.

They will have their third edition next week and in just three years, their football festival, which is also supported by Atty. Delan Urot and Chieffy Caligdong, is no longer just a football festival.

I’ve seen football festivals come and go in Cebu and I’m involved in one but I have to say this, theirs is the best. Each of the festivals have their own signatures; for the Thirsty Cup, it’s the night games, which bring with it a different dimension, for the Sun.Star Football Cup, it’s the gimmicks but for the Bro Festival, it’s the tournament itself.

Consider this aspect of their tournament--as much as possible, the organizers want to limit entries per division to 10.

That is crazy.

And thank god they’re doing it.

One thing unique about the BRO Cup is that the people behind it all join tournaments--here and outside Cebu—and it seems they studied all that is right in all those tournaments and organized one where the usual complaints heard in other tournaments are addressed.

Hence the limit of participants in a division.

Since the organizers sons belong to one team, they’ve been with them in tournaments here and outside Cebu and have been in both sides of the fence—as a participant and an organizer.

Of course, I’m not saying the other organizers are doing it all wrong, like I said, it’s all about a tournament’s identity and so far, this is the identity of the BRO Cup--it’s a footballer’s football tournament.

For this year, the organizers have come up with another novel twist--a week-long tournament to go with the festival. It is the only tournament I know that has this aspect. All other tournaments are either festivals or the weeks-long Cup type.

What I like about this is that the Central Visayas teams in the Palarong Pambansa would benefit from this, as it simulates a Palaro setting where teams have to play a game per day.

Also, unlike the seven-a-side matches in other festivals, the BRO Cup will have the full 11-a-side games in some divisions and I think that would really test a team’s creativity.

In seven-a-side matches using small pitches, there really is no transition from defense to offense or slow build-ups and sometimes luck plays a huge part. But in an 11-a-side match using an average-sized field for a game that lasts only 12 to 14 minutes, luck plays a minimal part. It’s going to be teamwork and skills that determine the winner.

It’s a wonderful departure from the usual festivals that have been around in the country for years.

Buyco said that should their number of entries increase, they will look at expanding the number of days of the tournament instead of extending the games through the night, showing they won’t mind paying extra just as long as the players and their parents would enjoy the tournament.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB. Today’s the big day for my kababayan and former goalkeeper Harry Lomadilla, who will get married to his fiancĂ©e Mitch today. Congrats Har and may you have a blissful marriage.

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