Limpag: Should CFA limit foreigners in Aboitiz Cup?

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Monday, April 14, 2014


IT is encouraging to see teams like the University of Cebu-Koreans and UC Nigerians join local tournaments, as these foreign laden squads help raise the level of competition.

I’ve been encouraging schools to let their foreign students join local competitions as it is a great way of letting the foreign students assimilate and get connected with the local community.

Sports, too, is a chance for foreign students in Cebu to come together. In the Aboitiz Cup finals between the UC Nigerians and Leylam, some of those who cheered for the eventual champions were members of Samba FC, a team of Nigerians from Southwestern University.

But here lies a dilemma--the UC Nigerians won the Aboitiz Cup and earned the right to represent Cebu in the PFF Smart Cup, a competition that limits each team to five foreigners only in the lineup, and to three in the field.
How would a team made up of foreign players deal with that? That’s a question the management behind the UC Nigerians are trying to solve.

They are considering bringing in the local players from their sister team but want to have it cleared first from the PFF if they are allowed to do that. I think they should. The team won the Aboitiz Cup and earned the right to represent Cebu in the Smart Cup, they should be allowed to make changes so they could comply with the rule.

That’s for now, but how about for future Smart Cups? To avoid that dilemma, should the Aboitiz Cup start limiting foreigners’ participation?

It’s going to be a tricky situation and the CFA should tread carefully, lest they be accused of discrimination.

The CFA could play it safe and say that “Since the men’s open champion will represent Cebu in the Smart Cup, we have to comply with the Smart Cup rules.” But a ruling like that seems tailor- made against teams like the UC Nigerians or Samba, and I’ve always been against rulings like that in sports. (Just check what the Pingoy rule in the UAAP led to.)

So, how should the CFA deal with that issue without being accused of discrimination?

How about clearer guidelines for the next edition on foreign players’ participation. Let the teams in the men’s open be aware of the limit on foreign players in the Smart Cup and those who can’t comply, may have to forfeit their chance to represent Cebu, should they win. But their non-compliance shouldn’t also bar them from participating in the Aboitiz Cup. It is, after all, the men’s open division, not the Filipino Men’s Open division.

Why not just limit their participation? I think that would be a bad move for a city and community that urges foreigners to study in local schools and bank on tourism.

BEST REPLY. During the coaches night of the BRO Cup, one coach said an official of another team was harassing his fellow coach and was accusing her of fielding an ineligible player in the age group finals. I was told it was the second time the official accused them of that.

It’s an embarassing incident, not only for the coaches’ involved, but to the player being questioned himself.

So I told him, “The next time he does that, don’t answer back. Give him a pen and paper and let him file a complaint.”

It’s very easy to complain. It’s very easy to accuse the other team of cheating but if you think you are really right, then why not write a complaint and send it to the organizers? They are, after all, also in the venue.
If you can’t, then shutting up may be your best option.

(www.cebufootball.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 14, 2014.

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