Global Cebu FC are in the midst of their worst season in history with the dismal run of results and all the administrative and upper management shifts this year.
The club was even rumoured to be on the brink of folding at one point.
But if their current transfer window activities and latest administrative developments are to be based upon, it seems the organisation has found a second wind which could only bode well not just for their remaining cup campaign for the year and the fans, but also for professional football in the Philippines in general.
The following will be a brief discussion on the club’s unfortunate fall from grace, close call to a catastrophic folding and the current ray of hope with the current club ownership’s efforts make the club rise from the pits of uncertainty and into their old ‘all-conquering’ selves in domestic football.
A DARK SPELL
Months ago, a change in club ownership was reported as former boss Dan Palami opted to relinquish his direct involvement with regards to club football matters in order to focus more on his role as Team Manager of The Azkals.
However, that transfer of ownership ended up in shambles as Global was thrust into a seriously uncertain situation and economic limbo as funding came to a halt, prompting several key players and staff to depart or transfer to other organisations at different points in time given the financial struggle and delayed wages.
The hit was such a significant one that it even came to a point of cancelling (losing via default) or delaying some of their away fixtures because of their inability to finance inter-island travel.
The exodus of talents eventually became massive as players left in numbers, and the void had made that struggle spill unto the pitch with streaks of negative results, in which the 11-1 drubbing by JPV last August 1 served as their lowest point as a club after not being able to field-in a legitimate goal-keeper when their primary net-minder got injured.
With losses both on and off the pitch piling up, the club (as of this writing) find themselves at the cellar of the league standings with only five points coming from two draws and only one win (a 3-1 result against Kaya Iloilo last May 23, 2018) that seemed an eternity ago.
It is hard to believe that before this ownership and financial crisis hit the club, Global had been arguably the most dominant professional football club in the country as they always competed with a view of winning a championship, ending up either as runners up or victors in almost all of their domestic campaigns.
NOWHERE BUT UP
From the club’s situation of languishing in maybe their deepest pits as a footballing entity, as the saying goes, there’s no other way to go but up.
That upward trajectory seemed to have begun the past few weeks, as of this writing, that began with a much needed injection of a sponsor beginning with Puma Philippines.
As for the debacle in terms of the transfer of ownership, an entity with a previously indirect involvement with the club took the cudgels to get it to continue in its existence. It is now confirmed that the person at the helm is none other than Mark Jarvis who is the father of current fullback Jordan Jarvis, who was a UAAP Season79 Rookie of the Year with Ateneo De Manila before transitioning as a professional footballer the following year.
A few days after these developments the first wave of acquisitions for Global in the PFL transfer window arrived with the likes of striker Joshua Beloya, defender Adam Mitter, and midfielders Charlie Beaton and Marvin Bricenio joining the ranks.
The late July singings definitely served as a positive step, but it was still far from the finished article to at least make up for all the bulk of players that have left as the newcomers were given a baptism of fire during their initial assignments that ended in comprehensive losses.
In terms of the coaching department Global sought the services of new Head Coach Stevic Rankovic in place of Coach Marjo Allado, who decided to resign and focus more on his duties with University of Santo Tomas football team.
But Global proved to be far from done in their overhaul. Continuing to crunch on the transfer window, they eventually had their second wave of arrivals which proved to be more significant as they answered their lack of player in the goalkeeping role.
Former Ceres-Negros sentry Michael Casas’ injection into the fold adds experience and quality in the defensive end while the rest of the arrivals proved to be coups as well with defenders Richard Talaroc, Milan Nikolic and former Azkal, Anton del Rosario, strengthening the backline. From the midfield up, Levi Gilmar, Paolo Pavone and Nessi Ramos add dimension and options to the squad.
THE ARDUOUS PROCESS BEGINS
The new squad had their first test against a loaded and recently reinforced Davao Aguilas team last August 18 and Global were able to hold firm against their opponents’ forays for most of the proceedings until a crucial blow came in the form of a sending-off of their centre-back and team captain Milan Nikolic due to a second bookable offence, proved to be telling as the fixture ended in a 2-0 loss.
Despite another setback, positives could be drawn out from the recent match as the squad finally were able to stand toe-to-toe against a powerhouse when it was eleven-against-eleven on the pitch.
But indeed, the road to finally get the club to where it used to be is still long and far from its desired point. The outlook may also not be at an optimal stage yet heading into the next campaign which is the Copa Paulino Alcantara given the short preparation that the new players are given to gel with each other, but if the squad would lean solely on the quality of its signings at the moment, Global Cebu are now in a much better position to compete against the rest than before.
For now, with what they have, Global can come up with a decent run of results in the cup if they can play to their strengths. Who knows, they might even be pull off a surprise run and go far in the knockout stages.
Club owner Mark Jarvis himself, in an online interview with FOX Sports, confirmed the initial speculations above regarding the current and immediate objectives of the team.
“Last Saturday we saw promising signs that the club can be competitive again. But to be back at the top will take time.We are hoping for a good run in the upcoming cup and hopefully the break between league and cup will benefit Global.
“We are realistic and it’s about surviving until year end when we can then see what steps to be taken next,” added Mr. Jarvis.
But whatever the outcome of the next tournament, what the club has been doing recently is a show of intent, and it’s not just centred on the squad but also on the fans and the region they represent – Cebu, with the hopes of making the Cebuanos even more involved.
“We are working hard on sponsorship and although a long way short where we need to be financially we shall make it through… Talks with various companies are ongoing and we hope to announce something very soon. We are really looking at Cebu and the people of Cebu to stand up and come forward.”
In parting, Mr. Jarvis is still optimistic in achieving the end state, where the club can finally be back to what they have been achieving in the past on the pitch not just domestically but regionally, while also being able to get back to what they have previously started in the City of Cebu, which is playing in front of their fervent supporters.
“Global fans can expect the same fighting spirit as we have shown, possibly a return to Cebu for some games and a realistic go at returning to AFC.”
If they can sustain and eventually complete this rebuild to a much better situation than ever before and be able to normalise their status and rise from their financial worries for good, then the promise of Global in getting back to being a powerhouse and a trailblazing organisation in Philippine club football is very much a possibility – a promise that not only bodes well for the organisation and its fanbase, but also for the whole football community in the country.
Photo credit: Global Cebu FC Facebook Page