Milo FCB and CFA: Future perfect

I ATTENDED the dinner organized by Cebu Football Association president Ricky Dakay for Milo officials and coaches of the Milo Road to Barcelona the other night and one distinct thing had me smiling. It seems one group was trying to outdo the other in what it can give and in saying how lucky they were to be the other group’s partner.

Usually, in sports gatherings like that, it’s more one-sided, but that Sunday night, superlatives were thrown at one another. Sir Ricky also recalled when he hosted a similar dinner when Cebu hosted the FCB Escola four years ago.

“You can always bring this back and we will always support you,” Ricky said. “Cebu is perfect. Aside from being centrally located, we have a lot of kids into the game.” Moments later, Ricky showed Michael Reyes, who brought the first FCB Escola camp to Cebu in 2014, a framed copy of SunStar Cebu’s story about the camp with that precious Xavi jersey.

Four years later, the camp returned for three days, with an extra one for underprivileged kids from SMS Boystown. Willy de Ocampo of Nestle Philippines concurred and said aside from being centrally located, what makes Cebu the perfect choice for the venue was the people–the guys at the CFA, coaches and the kids.

FCB coaches Jordie Aguilar Roca and Albert Fernandez also spoke and said of all the camps they’ve organized the enthusiasm of the kids and the support they got made the Cebu camp stand out. Then, they turned over an even more precious gift, that FC Barcelona jersey signed by the first team, making Ricky the owner of the most expensive jersey that I know of in Cebu.

Milo also turned over a special jacket–reserved for Olympians and special Milo partners–and a smart ball but it was the jersey that caught everyone’s eye.

Ricky assured the Road to Barcelona organizers it will get the same treatment as the Xavi jersey, and will be displayed at the CFA office, hinting at possible future tie-ups between the two.

And I hope there will be more.

There’s also one story that I learned that stood out in the camp. One kid wore Real Madrid shorts in the camp and sheepishly agreed to have the logo taped over, lest it would be captured in the photos and videos. In camps in other areas, no kid would do that but it is that innocence of the kids here and the openness of the FCB coaches that’s going to make this partnership more than worth it.

Sure, the lucky kids who’ll get a chance to train at Barca’s academy and watch a game at Camp Nou will have their lives changed, but it’s not only that. One of the local coaches who assisted in the camp told me that the two FCB coaches were more than willing to share and explain their methodology.

“I’d ask why they would do this in one drill and they’d explain,” said coach Jinggoy Roa, one of the top youth coaches here. “They’re not selfish with their knowledge.” Long after the lucky kids’ memories of Barcelona fade, I think it is that transfer of knowledge that will make future FCB youth camps here memorable.

Source: Local News

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