Limpag: Beyond Cebu football in 2020

Mike T. Limpag

THIS year marked a milestone for local football as we saw the formal end of the Cebu Football Association (CFA) as it was replaced by the Central Visays Football Association. The CFA, headed by Ricky Dakay, was the model FA of the Philippine Football Federation, giving the new officers of the new regional FA such big shoes to fill.

But so far, they’ve made the right steps, exploring partnerships with Bohol, which is now part of its mandate. Closer to home, Rodney Orale, the head of the regional FA, also formed a partnership with the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc., putting Cebu’s collegiate league under the purview of the FA, which is a first.

What does that mean? Well, coaches will now have to have certain licenses to be able to coach in college football and I think that’s a first in the country as the collegiate leagues in Manila exist outside of their regional FAs.

Orale is hopeful 2020 will be a bigger year for the region and promised to release the annual calendar of activities for both Bohol and Cebu. A calendar may be a simple thing but it’s not. I think so far, only CVFA is practicing that since in other areas, the regional FAs’ presence is not as strong.

A calendar is important since there are going to be a series of national tournaments next year and I’m sure Bohol, being now under the CVFA, wants to have players in the Central Visayas team. In the Under 15 tournament, the Central Visayas team was made up of all Cebu-based players and it was understandable since the CVFA just took over and it was easier—and much cheaper—to form an all-Cebu team.

But with the PFF looking at a National U17 and U19, and the Philippine Sports Commission eyeing a national U13 team, maybe Central Visayas-wide tryouts should be called.

This year, with the change of administration in Cebu City, also saw a series of tantalizing talks regarding new football fields at the South Road Properties. So far, it’s still in the talking phase given that the new officials also just took over but I’m hoping that by 2020, that field at the SRP will finally go beyond the “talking phase.”

But one thing I’m sure though, the artificial pitch put up by Leylam FC owner Ugur Tasci will finally have its public debut this year as the Aboitiz Cup men’s open will be played there.

I think it’s safe to say this early that football in Central Visayas will enter a new chapter that it has never been into in the past.

I can’t wait.