Villaflor: Club matches, finally

·2 min read

Several months ago, the Dynamic Herb Cebu Football Club was in the thick of preparations for the 2021 season of the Philippine Football League (PFL).

So imagine the club’s elation when the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Club Licensing First Instance Body awarded them with a provisional license at the end of July.

The league was slated to kick off last Aug. 21, and Cebu FC was excited as well to host opposing teams in its home field, the brand-new, world-class Dynamic Herb Sports Complex in Talisay City, Cebu.

The club’s growing base of Cebuano fans were just as giddy to see in action a club that they can truly call their own. So imagine everyone’s disappointment when the PFL 2021 season was postponed anew to September, then to October, then to November, and finally cancelled once and for all.

One might say that the postponements shouldn’t be an issue considering the pandemic situation, but what eludes most observers is that PFL clubs like Cebu FC have to spend huge sums of money to keep their respective teams going.

With their professional players and professional coaching staff, PFL clubs are required to be run professionally -- salaries, operating expenses and all. And yet it seems the organizers of the league, with their indecisiveness and with the pandemic card as an excuse, are not keeping their end of the bargain.

On a positive note, the clubs’ preparation didn’t go for naught with the holding of the Copa Paulino Alcantara or PFL Cup, which, as a last-minute sub of sorts, kicked off Sunday, Nov. 7 in a bubble format at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

The Cup has five participating PFL clubs: Kaya-Iloilo, Stallion-Laguna, Mendiola FC 1991, Azkals Development Team and Cebu FC.

With the withdrawal of United City FC, only Cebu FC and Stallion were left in Group A, while Kaya, Mendiola and ADT compete in Group B.

After Kaya edged ADT, 2-0 last Sunday, Cebu FC will face Stallion-Laguna Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m., while the ADT will go against Mendiola on Nov. 13. The group winners will advance to the semifinals on Nov. 16.

Regardless of who lifts the cup on Nov. 19, all the participating clubs, for their perseverance, deserve our congratulations.

The PFL and the PFF, on the other hand, seriously need to get their act together and stop using the pandemic as an excuse for its inadequate handling of a club system that is already on life support.

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