Fair Play: Unity bodes well for Cebu football

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Aug. 26 edition)
RECENT developments in the political landscape in Cebu, reminded me of a time when local football, even Philippine football, was like that; when swing votes were crucial and the numbers game was all that matters.

Hardly would a PFF president warm his seat when he faces an ouster movement, or in the case of Cebu, disgruntled members would be plotting their numbers years before the election. 

Now, brave is the soul who would challenge PFF president Nonong Araneta, while CFA president Ricky Dakay is enjoying unprecedented unity in the board, too.

But even a rich businessman like Ricky can do squat without a united board behind him--it is something the previous presidents didn't get to enjoy.  One, who is a friend of mine, was forced to take on added responsibilities as the other members of the board quit, while the other enjoyed the backing of three.  Another previous one had the full support but the whole lot got replaced in the election after staying in office for decades.

And in a sports organization where there is no shortage of "I'm doing this for the sport, not for money," passion runs high and views sometimes clash--just check the other NSAs who's been fighting factionalism these years. 

This unity has led to some remarkable progress in Cebu--check how many coaching, referee and grassroots seminars we've had in the past three years, leading to an unprecedented rise in the number of licensed coaches in Cebu which has become the envy of Philippines.  

Imagine, folks outside the CFA look forward to the next coaching seminars in Cebu because they get to attend for a highly-discounted fee as the group shouldered most of the expenses.  Just try to estimate how much a candidate would spend for a two to three-weeks course.

Heck, Bacolod copied Cebu recently, and installed the city's richest businessman as the head of its FA.  But again, one man can't do it.

For sure, there have been some hiccups and unhappy souls—the football community is not a group of “Yes-sir, No sir” robots, but overall, such disagreements have been addressed and has not led to factionalism.

Is it because of the president, the board or the community as a whole? The answer is all of the above.

I don’t know when the next CFA elections would be, but I hope after the vote, Cebu football will still be a unified front, not one where the numbers games sees more playing time than the beautiful game.



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