Fair Play: CFA and Cebu Province, A match made for a sports haven

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 8 edition)
ONE of the very first things I thought of the Cebu Football Association when I got in the media scene in 1997 was that perhaps they got the name wrong.

Growing up in a small town in Mindanao makes you wary of groups that include you in their mandate but doesn't include you at all.

It was the football association for Cebu but most of the teams were from one city of Cebu. I think I asked why there wasn't a Mandaue City football association and got a shrug. A few years later, someone got really interested when I told him to put up a Lapu-Lapu City football association since the local association doesn't cover it.

Of course, along the way, it became obvious why the CFA is Cebu City-centric—the group, just like any other based in the city—doesn't have the personnel to cover all of Cebu province.

That's why this partnership between the CFA and the Cebu Province Sports Commission (CPSC) is a match made in sports heaven, one that could lead to a sports haven.

The CPSC wants to spread the gospel of grassroots sports all over the province, football included, and has partnered with the licensed coaches of the CFA.

I think this might be the push football needs to jumpstart in the provinces. There are some areas where, thanks to teachers, football has risen like Barili.

Alcoy, never mind that incident, had a growing scene sans support from the PFF and CFA.

Now, with the CFA and Cebu Province teaming up, the growth will only be limited to what the local trainers have learned from these seminars, and the licensed coaches—Francis Ramirez, Jinggoy Roa, Totot Colina, Marlou Solon, Edwin Arganza, Eleazar Toledo and Alan Medalla--are making sure the coaches learn as much as they can.

I heard one participant, a veteran of the Department of Education meets, said it was entirely different from the coaching seminars DepEd organized.

Another advantage? These coaches are involved with school teams, any gifted youngster discovered in the programs maybe recruited in their schools, and isn’t that the ultimate goal of a grassroots program?

To give otherwise neglected kids that chance to get an education through sports?

For most, the CFA-CPSC partnership may lead to Cebu becoming a football powerhouse but for me, I hope that this could lead to Cebu City schools recruiting their players from Cebu Province and not from the neighboring provinces.

The program is still in its infancy but I hope this partnership continues for years, even if the people in charge at CFA and CPSC changes.


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