Courtesy of Sun Star Newspaper (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 issue
by Mike T. Limpag, Columnist - Fair Play
BY ALL accounts, it was a punch that would make Freddie Roach proud—the taller and older guy connecting to the face of the smaller and younger foe.
But it wasn’t boxing. It was the University of the Visayas football team captain against a UC striker in Cesafi football.
I got to the venue at halftime and was surprised to learn the captain, who I thought was one of the level-headed players in Cebu, to have done it.
“Gisapot naman kay sige sad bagulbul sa iyang mga kauban nga way klaro,” one official told me.
The captain was never punished for that punch because all four match officials never saw it. The play was on the other side of the field, while the incident was on the opposite end. And in football, if the officials don’t see it. It never happened.
It’s not fair, yes, but with 22 men and a field more than four times the area of a basketball court, lots of things never happen in a football game. That’s why it was the fifth official (a Fifa novelty and Cesafi doesn’t have that) and not the referee, two linesmen and fourth official, who saw Zinedine Zidane’s head butt on Materazzi during the World Cup Finals. (Hmmm, was the UC striker doing a Materazzi?)
I looked over the UC bench and saw the poor striker (gisiguro man gyud ang tisoy, tisoy nila, one official said) icing his face. For a punch that never happened, it sure hurt a lot. I asked the officials whether they will file a report but they said, “Unsaon man, wa man mi kita.”
UV got a lucky break I thought. Had the officials seen it, it would have been such an embarrassing incident for a team to have its captain, the most experienced player in the field at 24, ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
But later, I thought, the football gods must have been watching as an elementary mistake by the captain led to a UC goal. Though UV did manage to salvage a draw, thanks to the captain (hmm, football gods must’ve been drunk that day), the game showed how far the 2005 champions have fallen.
On the other hand, the punch wasn’t the only one that didn’t happen last Saturday, there was also an invisible game winner for Abellana National School/Pomeroy against Sacred Heart School-Jesuit in the Aboitiz 12-Under Cup. This one, it should have happened.
At 2-2, Pomeroy, according to the coach, scored the game winner, at least that’s what they thought. But to their surprise, it wasn’t counted. There was no offside, no foul, the coach claimed, the ref just said “Play on!”
Since coaches tend to be biased, I asked another source whether it really was a goal. The reply was, “Goal, pero di makita sa center referee. Ang linesman nga bag-o, wa kakita mao wa ka decide. Center ref decided no goal and changed it to goal. Coaches on both sides threatened to walkout whatever the ref decides that’s why gitabla na lang. (It’s an) officiating problem.”
Yes it is, but these two incidents also remind me of a video in Youtube. It’s about fair play and honesty. It shows how a team let the other side score to correct an error. That play was beyond the call of the officials, but they did it because they were honest enough to admit they were wrong and it was a goal they didn’t deserve. You don’t believe me? Go to youtube and search Fair Play and go to the top hit.
WHAT’S HAPPENING. The punch may not have happened but what is definitely happening is a welcome change for Cesafi. National championships, the SEA Games, and even the Asean Championships don’t provide stats for football games, but Cesafi does. No other tournament in Cebu post results on a website (check pabolfc.com) and offers fan interaction, Cesafi does. Had Cesafi basketball made one, it would have been a helluva hit. Aboitiz has the Aboitizfootballcup.com, but schedules there aren’t updated.