Limpag: Cebuanos impress Clear Dream scouts

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


I’VE heard of Coach Hans Smit ever since my teammates in high school returned from the national finals of the Coke Go For Goal from Davao City in 1993. They were all in awe of the coach who can throw a mouthful.

Last Friday, I met him for the first time during a dinner at CFA president Ricky Dakay’s house. Coach Smit was in Cebu with Ritchie Gannaban, Joshua Jimlang and other UFL coaches for the Cebu tryouts of the Clear Dream match.

And he was impressed with what he saw from the 100 or so who showed up.

“The skills and techniques of the players have improved and it shows that your program here is working. This is not because of one person or one entity, but this shows a concerted effort,” he said.

The group chose eight players who will join the final camp and the announcement will be made on the official website on Tuesday.

A lot of young players showed up, including Enzo Ceniza, the young player who a lot of folks say should have been in the national team years ago.

Why he isn’t is a story that is also known in the Cebu football community. A player’s skills aren’t always the criteria for who makes the team or not, something that should have changed years ago.

“Enzo has got a bright future,” Smit said. “He’s a young player that any coach in Manila would want to get.”

He also said that some of the players are good enough for the UFL but their success would depend on their maturity.

We also got to talk about the curious set-up the UFL is under that has resulted into the league getting lambasted online every time a referee makes a stupid call.

The UFL has no say in who officiates in their matches, they can’t even choose the referees to make sure the best in the country gets to officiate in the league where the best players in the country can be found.

It’s all about the NCRFA and its iron grip in all things Manila football and because it’s the UFL’s name that is shown in broadcasts or used in the papers, a lot of people think the league is doing nothing to solve the problem of poor officiating.

Only refs who are under the NCRFA can officiate, and it’s a tight old boys’ network.

I told him something has to change. The whole country needs the UFL to succeed for the future of the sport, we don’t need one FA’s narrow view or a group of referees selfish interest undermining its success.

The league is where the best players in the country play, it should be where the best referees in the Philippines officiate, not just a select few.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2014.

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