CEBU CITY, Philippines – Global Cebu FC and KAYA-FC Makati fought to a scoreless draw in an action-packed game last Saturday night, August 19, at the Cebu City Sports Center in the Philippines Football League (PFL).
Credited to have done a great job in stopping Global from scoring a goal at home is Kaya goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma, who was adjudged as the “Man of the Match.”
Cuaresma, who hails from Dumaguete, is no stranger to Cebu having played collegiate football here for Southwestern University in the 90s and also representing Cebu in the Under 19 national tournament.
“I can’t remember when was the last time I was here, I mean playing in this pitch, the atmosphere was good, the crowd was amazing, if Dumaguete, where I come from is my mother, Cebu was my dad coz I got my football, I was disciplined here, I’ve represented Cebu,” said Cuaresma.
He added that he made sure not to make any mistakes in the game which he described earlier as a sort of a homecoming for him.
“I mean some of my family were here so it was you know you can’t make mistakes, you just can’t because everyone was expecting so much besides the team, you don’t want to disappoint the people who came for us to watch this game because we know almost all of the people here is Global, so yeah it was an amazing atmosphere.”
Some of Cuaresma’s family and friends from Dumaguete came to Cebu to watch the game and support him and Kaya.
Cuaresma has this message to the Cebuanos – “To all Cebuano fans, thank you for welcoming Kaya FC, thank you for welcoming me back to play in this pitch and hope to see you soon.”
Global head coach Akbar Nawas agreed that Cuaresma was indeed the Man of the Match as he was a big factor in Global’s failure to score a goal.
Kaya had two goals waved off as offside and Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida said they will be reviewing videos of the game to see if those goals were really offside.
“First it was a really entertaining game, excitement was very high, we played quite a different ball from the start up to the finish, I think the way Kaya FC performed, I think we deserve 3 points,” said Marcaida.
He added that “It was a collective effort for my players, they played really well, it is really hardwork, just have to work on the finishing aspect.”
Nawas, for his part, credited his players for being competitive all throughout the game especially his defenders. According to Nawas, they took note of Kaya’s two strikers even before the game.
“For us to shut them out I think is a plus point, I’m quite happy with the way my players were disciplined, it is something that I see a difference in our team today, it is what I wanted and they were quite disciplined,” said Nawas.
The Global head coach also added that they are happy to remain unbeaten in their homeground.
“For me and the players, we always want the win, we always want the 3 points, when we don’t get the 3 points it’s a two-point drop, having said that, we are also unbeaten in terms of in Cebu, we also don’t want to lose that identity, the fans that came, all those things make us want to not lose games in Cebu especially, definitely very important for us to keep this unbeaten streak over here,” said Nawas.
He added that last night was a good way to bounce back from what happened in their last game at the Rizal Memorial Stadium wherein they were clobbered by JPV Marikina 5-2.
The team was missing Shu Sasaki whose status with the team is still undetermined.
Coach Akbar said that they want more balance in the team as they have a lot of Filipino wingers and that the team is a work in progress.
“Here we want to win all the time for sure but apart from trying to win all the time, we are also a work in progress trying to be a long term the way we play in this club, at least 5 or 20 years later people can see us as Global plays this way. Yes, we want to win but at the same time we also want to leave something (to be remembered),” explained Nawas.
Nawas also explained that he didn’t start Paolo Salenga, who had a good run in their Singapore Cup campaign, in their game against Kaya because he wanted a player on the bench who can be a game changer. He, however, assured that they are looking at more game time for Salenga.
With the draw, both teams have the same standings with 29 points but with Kaya at the no.2 spot owing to its goal difference of 9 points while Global remains at no.3 with a GD of 8 points.
Marcaida said that the competition in the league is getting tougher not only among the top 4 but for all teams.
“It’s very tight most especially that we already crossed halfway of the league so every point really matters. Also, it’s not only for the top 4, teams in the PFL are no pushovers, even the bottom 4, they can play football as well and they also give a hard time for those in the top 4, so if those top 4 teams will relax, those bottom 4 might also get a point from them.”