LONDON -- IN 2008 I officially became a resident of Cagayan de Oro city. My wife, who is from Gitagum, Misamis Oriental, convinced me to buy a nice five bedroom house at the posh Xavier Estates subdivision.
I was so impressed with the subdivision's football pitch that I told my wife to buy the house ASAP even without seeing the house. I thought that when my young son grows bigger and older he will learn how to kick ball on that pitch.
Year 2008 was also the year that the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) had a new president. There was lots of promise and every Filipino football fan was excited about what the new administration could bring in for football.
My excitement even went sky-high when the PFF president invited me to come to the AFC Challenge Cup qualification tournament in Iloilo city from May 13-17. I told the president I would be covering the tournament for the now defunct US based Pinoysoccer.com internet publication.
I would time my family holiday during that time. I would spend my own money for my trip. However, I asked him if the PFF could accommodate me and my photographer, meaning if the PFF could pay for our hotel. He agreed over the phone and we went to cover the event.
The Philippine team known as the Azkals missed the trip to the finals when they finished second to Tajikistan. The Azkals, then manned by some Filipino-Internationals from USA and UK, did not lose any match but dropped to second place with a lower goal difference.
They won over Brunei, 1-0, Bhutan 3-0, but was held by Tajikistan to a scoreless draw. The Tajiks only advanced when they plastered Brunei 4-1 in their last match.
When I brought my bill to the PFF the night before we were scheduled to leave Iloilo, the PFF president refused to pay my hotel bill. I did not argue with him and meekly just went back to the hotel. Right there and then I knew the character of this man. I do not have to elaborate.
After that incident, I promised myself not to call or talk to him again. I would just ignore him. After that tournament, Pinoysoccer.com folded up and the only decent publication about Philippine Football went down the drain including some of my investments.
The folding up of Pinoysoccer.com is another sad story on the history of Philippine football and PFF also has a hand in its closure. However, that issue would be another long, long story.
That incident also opened my eyes and convinced me that Philippine football is facing one of its darkest hours with this man in charge. Then and there I promised to cool off with Philippine football. Lots of people were asking me why the deafening silence? I was just fed up and saw no future in Philippine football.
And now why a sudden turnaround? It is because the PFF has hurt my beloved Cebu Football Association (CFA). I am so sorry CFA president Richard Montayre for not warning you about the current PFF president.
You see starting last year, the PFF has trumpeted their Vision Asia football development program and asked Cebu to spearhead the project. The Asian Football Confederation has allocated millions of pesos for the project. The CFA, hoping to raise the standard of play in the island of Cebu jumped on the project and got organized.
They picked coaches who were supposed to be paid by the Vision Asia money. Days came, then weeks, then months but where was the money promised for the coaches? Gone missing? So what do you expect? The project ground to a halt.
When Montayre went to Manila to look for the money he did not get any answer except for an email from the PFF president chiding him on why he wrote to the AFC to seek for the money. Again, Richard, I apologise to you. I could have warned you earlier.
Did the PFF expect this Vision Asia project to push through without a budget?
This is just one of the many sins that the PFF has done to football. If I enumerate all of them I don't think it will fit into this entire sports page. What has this PFF administration done to football? Referees seminars? Coaches seminars? But where are the tournaments? What will the referees and coaches do without the tournaments?
What has this administration done to the money that the previous administration left behind and the millions that Sep Blatter of Fifa gifted to all its developing members? The PFF is one of the richest sports association in the Philippines. Just go to their headquarters in Makati and you will see how rich this association is. Just check where the president has travelled these past two years (and first class at that) and you will be scandalised with his extravagance.
And pocketing the coaches stipends is beyond my imagination. It is the lowest of the low. (In Bisaya gidaginot pa gyud)
I thought the PFF has a board of trustees? I thought these were good men? What are you going to do now? Remember this, ''Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing.''
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