After years spent in the outside looking in, the Cebu football community, one of the most vibrant in the country, finally have a professonal club to support in the domestic scene with the unveiling of the Dynamic Herb Cebu Football Club.
Cebu FC, the third pro club to link with Cebu, got its provisionial license from the Philippine Football Federation Club Licensing on July 31 2021 and wasted no time in announcing its signings for the PFL Qatar Airways Season 2021. Among the first batch of players were University of San Carlos (USC) alumn John Roy Melgo and Steven Patalinghug. Melgo helped USC win the Cesafi title in 2011 and 2016, the first in the school’s impressive four-year reign.
On the other hand, Patalinghug was named the MVP after leading the Golden Booters to their record-tying fourth straight title in 2019, the last time the collegiate league was played before the pandemic.
Melgo was also part of Global FC Cebu, when it played its lone season in Cebu in 2017 and was still part of the team when it relocated to Makati and encountered financial difficulties.
Jack Zambrano, who towed Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu to the Boys 18 title via shootout over Don Bosco in 2018, also signed with the club. He will be working with former Kaya tender Ace Villanueva under goalkeeping coach Ref Cuaresma, an Azkals veteran who helped Southwestern University win the last Cebu Amateur Athletic Association football crown as a 19-year-old back in 2000.
Kore Marius, who was named the MVP when Leylam won the 2019 Philam Vitality Kampeon Cup 7s, also added his name to the club. Also owned by Dynamic Herb’s Ugur Tasci, Leylam is Cebu’s most successful amateur club in recent years, winning the men’s open of the Aboitiz Cup consecutively.
Others who announced during the Aug. 6 signings were Nicolas Ferrer, Jamal Mesbahi, Mauro Acot, Mohamed Soumah and Julian Miranda.
Dynamic Herb Cebu FC follows in the footsteps of the Ricky Dakay-backed Cebu Queen City United FC, which competed in the defunct United Football League in 2012, flying weekly into Manila for its Division B matches.
Though it has a home with an artificial pitch, also owned by Dynamic Herb, the PFL is expected to hold another bubble tournament for its 2021 season.