Late last year, when I got a press release that the Makati Football School (MFS) was going to establish a Cebu branch, my first thought was that this was going to cause some problems in the Cebu football community.
Cebu football is such a small community and you have clubs, especially the moneyed ones or those whose players have parents who are financially well off, are basically competing for a small pool of players and coaches.
That has ruffled some feathers in the past, with some silently getting pissed off when they learn that the players they’ve been developing have suddenly joined a new club.
And here comes a new academy who’d be essentially putting its hat in the competition for that small pool of players and coaches. And what do you get, as what my sociology professor in college would say, is a perfect recipe for conflict.
So, I wasn’t surprised when, weeks later, I learned there’s a conflict in Cebu age group football with Makati Football School front and center, a conflict that has led to MFS getting a blanket ban in all tournaments hosted by the Dynamic Herb Football Stadium, home of the Cebu Football Club and its youth academy.
I have friends on both sides of the argument and, based on my over two decades experience in conflicts such as this, both sides are convinced they are right.
To be honest, I wanted to, at first, try to get who between the two is right, but I don’t think that is what is important right now. The issue that should matter is having a bunch of kids suffer from a blanket ban because their only fault is their parents or coaches belong to a different club.
That reminded me of a similar disagreement between adults 10 years back, between the then-current officials and former officials of the Cebu Football Association that led to a youth team basically getting a lifetime ban. Not only was it harsh, but it led people outside the Cebu football community, to ask why the adults’ squabble is affecting kids.
Because this is what it simply is—a squabble between adults that has resulted in young kids getting banned from playing.
I think, if both parties are willing to sit down talk and listen to what the other has to say, both can find a solution. I mean, Cebu football is such a small community the men and women who are on different sides of this conflict have, at one time or another, been on the same side.
The conflict is just weeks old, there’s no need for this one to fester and infect the whole Cebu community.
Newly elected PFF president John Gutierrez has been touting the unity that Cebu football has as one of the factors why the Central Visayas Regional Football Association is one of the best in the country.
This conflict isn’t a good reflection of the community and I hope this can be resolved soon.