Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fair Play: Can CCSC, CFA team-up for futsal league in Cebu?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 14 edition)
THERE are two unrelated developments in Cebu that, if put together, could mean Cebu City taking the lead again in Philippine sports. The Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) is busy with its grassroots program and is now re-booting its archery program.

How succesful are they? For starters, from a pool of less than a handful, there are now at least 9,000 students who have learned archery.

And, just this weekend, the Cebu Football Association (CFA) and the Philippine Football Federation had a futsal seminar aimed to establish a league and a large pool of players in Cebu.

The CCSC, with Ed Hayco, and the CFA, with Ricky Dakay, are led by no-nonsense individuals who are blazing a trail that have led to unprecedented growth in their fields.

One group wants to bring all sports to all the barangays and another wants to bring futsal to everybody. Put two and two together and what do you have? A barangay-based futsal league perhaps?

It’s something that hasn’t been done and doing it is just another chapter for both groups that love to set that bar.

Set a world record? The CCSC has two. Hold an international friendly for the first time? The CFA did that. Twice!

They can start small, with eight barangays perhaps, and there’s a perfect venue. The Cebu City Sports Center, which also happens to be the headquarters of both CCSC and the CFA.

And Germany wins the World Cup! I hope I’m right and this statement won’t bounce back and hit me on the backside today.

Germany vs. Argentina. Europe vs. South America. Or, as they are saying online, a battle between the team that has the best player and the best team.

They say Germany’s journey to the World Cup final started almost 10 years ago when Jurgen Klinnsman took over the national team and revamped everything German football.

From the way they played to the way they select players, the country is now reaping the fruit of that long labor. Things in football have a long gestation period. Heck, Japan is aiming to win the World Cup in 2050 and the players that could do that haven’t been born yet.

The Philippines started something similar in 2005 and with some modest goals. The then Philippine Football Federation put up the Centers for Football Excellence nine years ago and it aimed to win the Southeast Asian Games in 2015.

It went belly-up in 2006.

Now, the PFF is starting another long-term project; this time it’s designed to qualify the country for the Fifa U17 World Cup. The kids now aren’t even teenagers yet and if we are to learn from Germany, what is important is to sustain this program.

Who knows? These bunch of 12-year-olds projected to make it to the U17 Fifa World Cup in 2019 could get us to the World Cup in 2022.


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