Though already loaded with some of Cebu’s best young talents, the Dynamic Herb Cebu Football Club is looking to add more Cebuanos in their lineup for the 2021 Philippine Football League season.
Oliver Colina, who was officially named the head coach of the team recently, said he has sent feelers to some young players for the invitation-only tryouts, which he hopes to hold once the quarantine status of Cebu City is relaxed. Cebu City is under MGCQ until Aug. 15, 2021.
“If only possible, I want an all-Cebuano squad. We have a lot of talented young players, but most of the players here are out of shape,” said Colina, who briefly took the helm for Kaya FC before the pandemic cut short the season in 2020. Football in Cebu has been in a standstill for more than a year because of the pandemic.
Colina said they still have a room for seven more in their roster for this season and is eyeing to add a center back, two midfielders and two strikers. Most of the students he contacted for the tryouts are those who just graduated from senior high or currently don’t enjoy collegiate scholarships. The Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc., which has five football teams in its collegiate division, bars players from joining pro leagues.
Colina said team management is coordinating with the IATF for guidelines and once they get the go signal, he plans to hold a one-week tryouts for the invited players.
“Two days is too short, one week should be enough for a player to show his abilities,” said Colina, who also handled the successful Little Azkals U12 team almost a decade ago.
Colina also said they are adding 19-year-old Prince Ferraren to his roster of keepers, saying he wants four keepers to make the competition for the No. 1 spot a tough one. Colina said he has long wanted to recruit Ferraren for Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu after seeing him play for Dumaguete in the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association.
Meanwhile, Colina said most of the players who have signed up with the team are doing individual training to get in shape for the PFL season.
Aside from eyeing young homegrown players, CFC have also added some members of Leylam FC to its roster, among them foreigners Gamal Al Mesbahi, Mohamed Soumah, Ekundayo Emmanuel and Marius Kore, who led Leylam to the PhilAm Vitality Kampeon Cup title, earning an MVP in the process. Veteran Ranulfo Colina, the coach’s older brother, has also been added to the lineup but will play more of a mentor.
“He will be there to guide the young players,” said Colina.
Leylman, which is also owned by CFC owner Ugur Tasci, is also coached by Colina and is Cebu’s most successful men’s open team in recent years, winning consecutive Aboitiz Cup Men’s open title.
Among the youngsters who have been named to the squad are Cebuanos Lorenzo Genco, John Zambrano, Kintaro Miyagi, Yoji Selman and last year’s Cesafi MVP Steven Patalinghug of the University of San Carlos.
Though he admitted that being a new squad in the PFL will be a tough assignment for Cebu, Colina said he wants CFC to be competitive in its maiden season.
Colina will be assisted by USC women’s coach Apol Barinan, who is currently in the US with the national women’s squad and Alex Ballesteros of the University of the Visayas. Ref Cuaresma, who played for Southwestern University when it won the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association football title in 2000, is the goalkeeper coach.