By MARS G. ALISON
For its 17th edition this year, the Aboitiz Football Cup, one of the longest and biggest football tournaments outside Manila, is looking for new venues for its matches as there is no longer an Aboitiz Sports Field after owners have decided to put the area to another use.
Glenn Quisido, the tournament director of the Cebu Football Association (CFA), said that they are looking into five venues—the Cebu City Sports Center, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and San Roque Football Field in Mandaue City, the Don Bosco Technology Center in southern Cebu City, and the University of San Carlos (USC) in Talamban.
Quisido added that the tournament is slated to begin this November and they are eyeing to hold the opening ceremonies either at the USC or at the Ayala Center Cebu.
Aside from the venues, another change that the tournament may apply is the holding of small sided matches for the younger categories in line with a new grassroots and youth development program of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s world governing body.
According to Quisido, they may use nine-a-side format for categories Under 11, 10 and 9; and 7-a-side for Under 8 and 6. Under 12 and above age categories will continue to have the 11-a-side.
Quisido said that nothing is final yet though and they may decide to have an 11-A-Side for all categories.
The tournament will have the same categories as last year with a tentative limit of 10 teams per category and to follow a league-type format.
In the female categories, Quisido said that only the Ladies Open will be an 11-a-side affair while the rest of the categories will be 9-a-side.
The Men’s Open will also adapt the rule of the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) Smart National Men’s Club Championships wherein only five foreign players will be allowed to play.
The Men’s Open champion will represent CFA in the national tournament but the 16th edition’s winner, the UC Nigeria, was composed of mostly foreign players.
CFA then decided to hold a mini tournament with the winner representing the football association in this year’s PFF Smart tournament, the national champion of which will represent the country in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) President’s Cup.(www.fullpointcebu.com)