Limpag: Aboitiz Cup dead, time for Cebu to move on

Fair Play

For close to two decades, the Aboitiz Football Cup was that one tournament that greatly fostered growth in Cebu football. That 11-a-side age group competition, which ran for several months, was the envy of other football associations.

It was the crowning glory, the tournament which other tournaments were scheduled around with.

Coaches would program their own calendar, picking which festivals to join so their own teams would peak just as the Aboitiz Football Cup would start. And the other tournament organizers recognize that and they don’t mind that their events are but stepping stones to the Aboitiz Cup.

That’s how important the Aboitiz Cup was to Cebu football.

Back in 2017, when Global Cebu was still playing in Cebu, I showed the Manila-based reporters what the Aboitiz Cup was and how we built the calendar around the tournament. They were impressed. There’s nothing like this in Manila, they said.

However, the Aboitiz Cup, as Cebu knew it, ended in 2019.

But since sports resumed after the pandemic, our football brothers in the North have been treated to a bastardized version of the Aboitiz Cup, even if we scoffed at how the first-time participants of the first-time northern version of the Aboitiz Cup were called the 22nd Aboitiz Cup champions.

We let it go, of course. This is the Aboitiz Cup after all, THE Aboitiz Cup.

And we all hoped that it would return to its roots.

But after three years and with no signs of Cebu’s premier football tournament returning to Cebu, I think it’s about time we move on and admit that the Aboitiz Cup has forgotten Cebu football.

It’s time to move on and visualize a Cebu football community without its biggest benefactor.

The Aboitiz Cup’s absence and the wait for its return has hurt the community; we’ve been stuck with seven-a-side football for three years, hampering the growth of our players.

We need more 11-a-side tournaments; and to get there, we have to accept that we have to do so without the Aboitiz Cup.

How can Cebu football achieve that? Well, it’s simple. The Aboitiz Cup got us together and all we have to do is get together to provide the Cebu football community the program the Aboitiz Cup used to provide us.

It’s useless waiting for the Aboitiz Cup to return to Cebu, given how its focus is now Luzon. The Aboitiz Cup, the tournament that changed Cebu football, is dead.

For Cebu football to thrive, it has to acknowledge that the Aboitiz Cup is no more and adopt accordingly.


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