Mixed martial arts in a football game

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jack Biantan

LONDON—Sun.Star Cebu lensman Allan Cuizon captured the “MMA-Football” last Sunday at the Aboitiz field in Cebu City. The incident is a big slap to the beautiful game and we do not know how long Cebu football can get over it.

Cuizon, an architecture graduate and a veteran photo journalist for Sun.Star Cebu, was just at the right spot at the right time when he captured a Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu (SHS-AdC) parent about to harm the goalkeeper of Alcoy Football Club, who was at the same time head locking a SHS-AdC player. Both teams were playing in the Aboitiz Cup, the most prestigious 11-aside tournament in Cebu city.


We could also see in clear colour the SHS-AdC player unleashing a punch on the face of the Alcoy goalkeeper. There is also chaos in the pitch in the background, while in the foreground, there is a man in black sleeveless rushing to the man and the two young players.

Sun.Star published only one photo, which came out Monday because of space constraints.

But today, there is a series of photos in the main page and also in the front page its sister publication Super Balita.

If there is a Cebuano or Philippine version of the Pulitzer prize, this photo is a grand winner.

In the photo that came out Monday, the man is trying to stab the goal keeper with something in his hand. It could not be seen since his hand was close. However, in the photos today you could see the man stabbed the boy with a bunch of keys on the head.

The boy suffered a gush and he was treated and is out of danger.

The Sun.Star report on Monday did not mention names and merely reported that the cause
of the rumble was the trash talking among the players and the parents.

The rumble, the report said, started when players, fans and parents of the SHS-ADC told the Alcoy FC players to go back to the mountains of their town of Alcoy which is 93 kilometers south of Cebu city. The report however did not say who threw the first punch.

I do not condone trash-talking and it is not proper to start a fight because of that.

If someone tells you to go back to your mountain tell him that you will because your mountain has more fresh air than your polluted city. That could have silenced the thrash takers.

Alcoy has beautiful beaches and there is a striving football culture in that town because of the presence of German expats who are helping the kids in the public schools take up the beautiful game. This is the first time they have joined a tournament in Cebu city.

In today's Sun.Star report by Edri Aznar and veteran police reporter Oscar Pineda, Alcoy FC is filing criminal charges to the man in the photo and two other parents of the SHS-ADC who reportedly kicked some players of AFC.

This incident could have been set aside and would be considered as part of football and settled amicably if not for the dramatic photos that Cuizon took. Since there is clear evidence of the assault against the Alcoy goalkeeper, this incident would not be taken too lightly. Cebu Capitol and the town officials of Alcoy are ready to help in filing a case.

Cebu football fans who were present during the match have already named the man in the photo. They said he has a son playing for SHS-AdC and he is an officer with the Cebu Bureau of Customs.

That is the problem with parents who support their children in sports. They always want to get involved even though they do not know anything about the sport. If the stabbing happened here in England, the guilty man would have been arrested immediately for assault. It does not matter if he assaulted a young boy or a man. It is assault and the photos are clear evidence of the crime.

The incident is a real headache for the Cebu Football Association (CFA), which has done a really good job in promoting the sport in Cebu.

SHS-ADC athletic director Rico Navarro, who has done a fantastic job in converting SHS-ADC from a sport minnow to an athletic powerhouse in Cebu, is facing a big problem as he is also the vice president of the Cebu Football Association.

An investigation is taking place but this would take time to resolve. In order for the CFA to make a just decision, they only have to check Cuizon's photos once again.

This problem could still be fixed. I suggest that both parties sit down, talk about the problem and think of an immediate solution. Do not let this reach the courts because it would be exhausting for both parties.

CFA president Engr. Pericles Dakay should preside over the meeting between. SHS-AdC should extend the olive branch and apologise and exert effort and do something that could appease the Alcoy FC. For instance, since most of the parents of SHS-AdC are well off, why not organise a football outreach program in Alcoy.

The parents and the SHS-AdC admin could give footballs, organise clinics and feed the under-privileged kids. Alcoy FC, in turn can accept the olive branch and let bygones be bygones. Do not let the politicians get involved. They know nothing about football and they have their own agenda.

For the man who stabbed the Alcoy FC goalkeeper, we know that it was not your intention to harm the player. It was just a spur of the moment that you did not want to happen. You are a professional. You do not want this stupid action of yours to ruin your career. If I were you, I will apologise and the young man you hurt would accept your apology. If this happens, then everybody will be happy and your children will be back kicking football. But please, get rid of the trash talk. (l.biantan@gmail.com)

(The author, who played football during his leaner years, is a former assistant editor of the sports section of Sun.Star Cebu. He is based in the UK.)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 19, 2014.


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