By Mike T. Limpag
Saturday, September 17, 2011
CEBU QUEEN City United FC will undergo a baptism of fire after getting a tough group during the draw for the UFL Cup yesterday in Manila.
Cebu QC United, which will make its debut in the country’s premier football competition next month, is in Group C together with defending UFL Cup champion Global FC, Pachanga and Stallions.
Global, Pachanga and Stallions also made the semifinals of the PFF Smart Club Championships, which was won by Global FC.
“This is really a baptism of fire,” Cebu QC United coach Mario Ceniza said. “Of the four teams, kita lang ang kulang in terms of exposure.”
Global FC also competes in the UFL First Division, while the Stallions compete in Division 2.
“It’s unlucky that Global and Cebu are in one group but that’s what football brings,” Global FC goalkeeper Paolo Pascual said. Pascual is from Cebu and used to play under Ceniza in Paref-Springdale.
Pachanga, of team owner Freddy Gonzales, a former national team member and the first Pinoy to play under contract in Vietnam, will be led by former national team coach Norman Fegidero.
The three teams, curiously, have links to the Visayas. Global FC is considered a Leyte squad because of team owner Dan Palami; Pachanga will be fielding players from Bacolod; and Stallions is owned by Nonong Araneta of Iloilo and fields Ilonggos.
“The opening matches might be from Group B and C. I also believe that the Stallions vs. Queen City game will surely be televised (since it will be) Iloilo vs. Cebu,” UFL’s Santi Araneta said in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
“Ang ato lang gyud is to hopefully make it to the top two,” Ceniza said.
Though some of his players were able to hold Global FC to a draw in a tournament in Tacloban a few months ago, Ceniza said that isn’t a real gauge of how the team would fare.
“That’s not really a gauge because they have new players coming in and we are also coming up with a new system. So I can’t really give a prediction,” Ceniza said.
However, despite the odds and the club’s absence of a lineup, Ceniza is optimistic.
“A coach has to be optimistic because that will influence the players,” Ceniza said.
Ceniza and the club members were set to meet again last night to go over their lineup, which they have to submit on Sept. 30.
They were also set to discuss the holding of friendly matches to help prepare the squad and are looking to face the University of San Carlos, who is coincidentally coached by Joshua Fegidero. They will also discuss Palami’s offer of a friendly with Global, which will hold a training camp in Tacloban next week.
The top two in the eight four-team groups and the two best third-ranked teams will advance to the knockout round-of-16.
The other teams in the UFL Cup are Nomads, Baguio, Exin Internacional and Lions in Group A, Loyola, Internacional FC, Agila and Team Socceroo in Group B, Kaya-Cignal, ABC Stars, Schwarz and Diliman Victory Liner in Group D, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Manila Al-Japan and Laos in Group E, Green Archers, Dolphins United, pasargad and Forza in Group F, Philippine Army, Manhur, Sunken Garden and Garuda in Group G.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 18, 2011.