Practice usually makes perfect. But one team almost got away with getting a result without it.
On Saturday night Division One side Team Socceroo needed a 96th minute game-winner from Ebi Cleopas to defeat Fleet Marine, (formerly known as Philippine Navy FC), 2-1 in their first group stage game of the UFL Cup. Socceroo’s opener from Cleopas was negated by a penalty from FM’s New Zealander, Gerard Brown.
TS keeper Baba Sampana saved a penalty in the second half as well as the ensuing rebound. Then late in the match Cleopas got his winner off a short stab while in the six yard box after a corner kick.
FM coach Dondon Rosima candidly told me after the match that his side, composed of mostly aging ex-Navy guys and a few younger players, had never practiced together before the cup.
“I know a few of them from playing for Navy in the last UFL season but I don’t know the others,” said Brown, who works in a call centre.
Navy finished second-to last in their most recent UFL division 2 league campaign, which may have led to them begging off the league for this season.
Brown says he and FM’s other foreigners are in the process of acquiring a special pass that will allow them to enter the Fleet Marine field in Naval Station Jose Francisco for training. Philippine military installations are usually loathe to let non-Filipinos into their bases.
Meanwhile in the nightcap Kaya shelled MSA- Agila 7-0. Patrick Delon Yao, late of Global and Laos, started at centerback for Kaya and trotted out a neat B.A. Barracas ‘do. (You’re dating yourself if you get that reference.)