Citing family concerns, former Cebu-based Australian Graeme Mackinnon resigns from Global FC

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Sunday, February 19, 2012


A DAY after a stunning win over undefeated Stallion Gilligan’s in the United Football League, Dan Palami and Global FC will have to deal with another surprise.

An even bigger one—the loss of their coach, the former Cebu-based Australian Graeme Mackinnon.

“I’ve resigned from Global,” Mackinnon simply said when he met with Sun.Star Cebu to talk about the matter.

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Citing family concerns, the 65-year-old coach who took Global FC to the semifinals of the UFL Cup and to second place after six games in the league, said he’s told Palami about his plan weeks ago.

“I’ve lost the fire in me,” Mackinnon said. “Sendong really affected me. It really hit home with the fragility of things and I came to the realization that I have neglected my family for so long and it’s time to return to my family again. It’s time to go home and fall in love with my wife all over again.”

Mackinnon also played a role in organizing the match between the Azkals and CF Madrid, which raised funds for the victims of Typhoon Sendong.

Global FC was not the first coaching stint of Mackinnon and he also missed most of the childhood of his daughter when he was based in Cebu from the late 80s until 2003, when he returned to Australia.

“The difference between then and now is because of the technology. Back then we just wrote letters, now I get to see them every week online,” said Mackinnon, who added he wants to see more and take care of his granddaughter Isabelle. “I’m 65, you never know how many sunsets you’ll see.”

For his part, Palami said he is sorry to see the coach leave and was even hoping that he would change his mind. Mackinnon first told Palami of his plan before the team manager left with the Azkals for their training camp in Dubai.

“There’s too much respect between us that goes beyond football. I would always support him and I don’t want football to stand in the way of his being happy,” said Palami.

Palami said he was more than satisfied with how Mackinnon handled Global in his brief stint in the UFL.

“I give him an A plus. I’ve seen his dedication to the job, I’ve seen how he handles the player and that is talking from the point of view of an owner of the club, and not just a friend,” said Palami.

Mackinnon said he doesn’t have a written contract with Palami.

“My contract was ‘I will leave if I get sick of it or if he (Dan) gets sick of me.’

I’ve been really lucky twice in football. First with Michel (Lhuillier) and now with Dan. There’s more than the employer-employee relationship and it’s more like I’m part of the family,” said Mackinnon, who first met Dan during the Feb. 9 match between the Philippines and Mongolia.

Palami said he and his former coach will maintain their friendship and he has even invited Mackinnon and his wife Tessie to return to the Philippines for his brother’s wedding this summer.

Since Global will have a short break, Palami said he will use the time to find a coach that would “approximate what Graeme has done.”

Mackinnon said he hopes the senior players in the team like Yu Hoshide and team captain Badrelin Elhabbib will take over a bigger leadership role now that the team currently has no coach.

The Australian coach, who is set to leave for Brunei to represent Palami in the Bolkiah Cup, said he feels happy and lucky to be part of the recent football
renaissance in the country.

“Back then, we had more dogs than people in the stand. Now, there’s so much passion, crowd participation and involvement. I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out,” said Mackinnon, who admitted he never really got settled in in Manila.

“Everything was done to make me settled in, it’s just that there are overriding family ties,” he said. “I’m happy for the experience.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2012.

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