THERE was a fairly sizeable crowd in the Negros Occidental Football Association (Nofa) vs. Central Visayas Football Association (CVFA) match in the Stars of Tomorrow Boys 15 tournament at the Cebu City Sports Center on June 29, 2019.
That was despite the short time to promote it since the CVFA only had little time to prepare for everything, including the dead CCSC pitch.
Still, I was impressed with the crowd, which is bigger than that seen at Philippine Football League matches these days.
The home crowd was loud, too, while the visitors also had their group of cheerers. Thankfully, there was no jeering done by either team.
CVFA president Rodney Orale was there and so were most of his board members who donned other hats: Jose Guy Ceniza, Nimrod Quiñones, Josephril Partosa, Neil Ferraren, Chad Songalia, Joseph Poblacion and Archie Reyes. They weren’t there as board members only, they were also pitching in for the Stars of Tomorrow tournament.
Songalia also served as the match announcer, Reyes took care of the officiating and Ferraren, who was in charge of security, also brought his camera. Poblacion, a doctor, was put in charge of the medics and just after the final whistle, he was busy checking a CVFA player who got a scary injury and whose neck had to be stabilized. They donned other hats as their way of supporting the local FA.
It was good also that the pitch had some green areas from my point of view in the stands. Hosting a match at the CCSC is like a pin the donkey game; you’d never know if you’d get the face or the arse.
With the tournament running until September, I hope the new mayor Edgar Labella can help spend for the rebirth of the pitch, one that will see it having one type of grass only. I don’t have to describe the state of the pitch to the mayor since he sees it more often than me, being a member of the Walk and Talk club that spends the morning at the CCSC.
Sure, the pitch will die during the Sinulog but if we spend for its upkeep, we can certainly plan for its “yearly death” to be reversible, couldn’t we? Or is that wishful thinking?
Either way, I hope it will be discussed. I’ve been offering this suggestion every time a new term is started at City Hall. Who knows, someone will listen this time?
As for the game itself, well, the home team seemed jittery. Though they managed to get inside the Nofa box, either they got stripped right away or they spent too much time with the ball and allowed the defense to regroup.
I hope the team can recover in the next few games and get some points. With a tournament that lasts until September, we need to win the early games when we can still draw from the 36-player pool. Come August or September, some of the players might not be available due to academics or school-based tournaments, so we have to win the early games.
Only two of the five Visayas teams will advance and we all know how tough a Visayas-wide football competition would be.