Villaflor: ‘Homeless’ Global’s long-distance affair

Noel S. Villaflor

LET’S not mince words: Global FC Cebu is a homeless club. Unless, it can find a permanent field in its adoptive hometown, the club will not achieve its full potential. It is also a disservice to its supporters in Cebu who will be deprived of seeing the club they have called their own play at home.

It wasn’t so long ago when Global FC decided to carry Cebu in its crest, and the Cebuanos embraced the club as its own. The dynamic between club and supporters even went beyond expectations, but just as everything seemed so promising, the Cebu City Sports Complex field, all of a sudden could no longer meet professional standards, despite neverending efforts to rehabilitate the grass pitch.

And all this is unfortunate considering the club’s storied existence over the last 18 years since its inception. What a waste of talent and funds that would be to see a club with pedigree and potential not having the benefit of the 12th man -- the hometown crowd -- during matches, mostly the penultimate ones.

One might argue that during its United Football League years, Global didn’t really have a fixed home stadium and are used to playing in various venues, home and away. But with the Philippine Football League, the demands have changed, foremost of which is that the club now carries the name Cebu and represents its people in national and international matches.

Having a home field with a hometown crowd that can be relied on means everything to a club, and to the same extent, seeing their club play on home soil means everything to its supporters. Too bad this dynamic between club and supporters will be missing not just in the 2018 Philippines Football League, but in overseas tournaments as well. A huge blow to Global’s international campaign, the AFC reportedly didn’t approve the Cebu City Sports Center field to host the home matches, which instead will be played in ghost venue Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, where love for football hardly exists.

After losing its first away match to Vietnamese club FLC Than Hóa by the slimmest of margins, Global needs to bounce back and win its next match against Bali United at “home” in Manila this February 27. No doubt the Global players will miss anew the love and cheers of Cebu’s passionate crowd.