ONE of the most anticipated developments in local football next year is the impending change of leadership in the Central Visayas Regional Football Association, formerly known as the Cebu Football Association.
Ricky Dakay is the current president and I know that the change of officers is long overdue. But for me, this is the a case of an overdue change that is beneficial. In fact, if the often-talked about change of officers doesn’t happen in 2019, I’d be one of many who’d be happy. However, all signs and talks among the coaches indicate that there’s going to be a change in leadership.
And that talk has always centered on one very basic question, “Who can replace Ricky Dakay?” or to quote it exactly, “Kinsa man makapuli ni Ricky?” The next president has very big shoes to fill. One of Ricky’s biggest achievements was the hosting of the first Azkals home game in Cebu and I was there the moment the Philippine Football Federation decided to make it happen.
It was a dinner hosted by Ricky for the visiting Dan Palami, who by then had been saying that if Cebu had a suitable field, he could bring the Azkals here. That was around July of 2012 and the Cebu City Sports Center’s (CCSC) pitch was green. Not Fifa-friendly green but just green. I reminded Dan of what he said and he looked at Ricky, who in turn looked at his own go-to-guy Raffy Musni. That simple exchange led to the historic Azkals vs. Lions match in Cebu.
I was never more proud of Cebu football than that moment. At that time, we had the best pitch in the country, even better than Panaad. The rest of the Pinoy fans marveled at how we managed to have a striped pitch barely a year after the CCSC was a dust bowl. That for me was one of Ricky’s biggest achievements and it happened because of his biggest achievement—unifying Cebu football.
That Azkals home game, the next one after that, the AFC Presidents Cup hosting, the football calendar, the mushrooming of futsal, all of these wouldn’t have happened under a fractured association. And believe me, having covered Cebu football since 1997, the only time we’ve been free from factions was when Ricky and the present board took over.
There are a lot of reasons for that but I think the main reason is integrity. The local community shares and believes in Ricky’s vision and plans because it knows he’s a man of integrity. He’s not after the position nor is he after enriching himself. I think he even got to spend more money than what he has received because of his position.
And that’s something I hope the next president will have, something that Cebu football community should consider when it chooses the next set of officers. No, the next president doesn’t have to be as rich as Ricky Dakay, it simply has to be like him, a man of integrity. Cebu football is where it is today because of that.
So who can or who should replace Ricky Dakay as the next president? I think the Cebu football community already knows the answer to that.