Monday, June 18, 2012


Published in Sun Star Newspaper on June 18, 2012 Monday issue
by Mike Limpag, Sports Editor & Columnist, Fair Play

THERE was a time in Cebu football, when the Aboitiz Cup was the only thing that mattered and all the rest played second fiddle.

That is no longer true as it has become one of the casualties of the clash of schedules of organizers in Cebu football and teams, forced to choose between a festival and the Aboitiz Cup, prefer to join the two-day tourneys instead of Cebu’s longest running football tournament.

Worse, some teams compromise the quality of their games by joining two events in a day, which led to Paref-Springdale getting banned by the old CFA board for three years. (That of course, is another story).

One of the plans of the new board--the one whose recognition is being put on hold by a mysterious complainant in the PFF—is to bring back the prestige of the tournament and there’s a simple way of doing that.

A football calendar where the Aboitiz Cup is the centerpiece event and the rest of the footie festivals are scheduled around it.

The rest of the regular annual football tournaments—the Cebu City Olympics, the Milo Olympics, the Cesafi, Sinulog and Thirsty Cups—have regular schedules that can be easily inputted in such calendar. And if there’s a clash, it’s a matter of adjusting the dates.

There should be no pissing contests where one organizer dares a team, “just choose which one you will join” because that’s what got us here in the first place.

There’s another plan, this one coming from the Aboitizes themselves, that I hope will be revived by the new board.

Back in 2010 and in 2009, before the start of the tournament, the organizers met sports editors for help on marketing their tournament. They also wanted their website promoted--they wanted players to tweet, post news in their Facebook accounts, link fotos and the whole nine yards.

Social media, of course, was what helped make the Azkals big and organizers of the Aboitiz Cup were smart enough to recognize such power before the Azkals became mainstream.

In 2010, I told them that the website would have been a huge help in 2009 if only there were regular updates. But they said they already addressed such problem, spending hundreds of thousands of pesos for a system--including hardware--that would allow field officials to just input the data after a game and voila, you have updates.

Sadly, that too, didn’t happen and that’s something that I hope would change this year. The website, sans data, is a waste of cyberspace.

So, how does one get the data and how many men do you need to get such data for a huge event like the Aboitiz Cup that lasts for months?

I know the perfect guy to ask and unless he’s busy supporting his son’s budding cycling career, I hope former president Jonathan Maximo can give the new board tips in gathering data. He did it then, that means it can be done again.

CONTEST. There’s also another idea I threw at Maxi a few years back and it could help spur interest for Cebu football in the social media—get the school papers involved. By the time the Aboitiz Cup gets rolling, the school papers will be busy with their first edition and getting them to write about their school matches would be easy since it’s part of their job.

Students these days, they post everything they do—and don’t do—online, so a few posts about their school’s Aboitiz Cup campaign could lead to a few copycats and so on.

There could even be a contest for the student writers and photojournalists and what’s the one prize that could spur them to do their best—an all-expense trip, and a media pass, for the next Azkals home game?


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