DYNAMIC HERB SPORTS INC. One of the owners of Leylam Shawarma is building a stadium at the Cebu South Reclamation area. (Contributed photo)
By Jack Biantan
WHEN Dynamic HERB Sports Inc. announced last week that they are building a football specific stadium plus an indoor facility at the South reclamation area, I was doubtful.
I have reasons because for many years, the Cebu City government and other governments in the province have failed to build a facility anywhere, how much more in the prime development area of South Reclamation.
But I forgot, Dynamic HERB Sports Inc. is not owned by the government. Based on my research, the company is owned by long time Cebu resident, Turkish, Ugur Tasci. He is married to a Cebuana dentist Joanne Palacios Tasci.
Ugur is also the co-owner with his brother Gem of the current Aboitiz Cup Men’s Open champion Leylam Football Club. They are also the owners of very popular food chain Leylam Shawarma which has more than 300 branches all over the country.
What I know is that the man running the football program of Leylam FC is former national youth coach and Azkal Oliver ‘Bingbing’ Colina. When I was the secretary general of the Cebu Football Association (CFA) in the late 80’s and early 90’s Bingbing was only a kid who tagged along with his older brother Dennis. Dennis used to play for the legendary M. Lhuillier Jewelers.
Now, he has retired from competitive football after stints with the Azkals and graduating from University of San Jose-Recolotes. He has turned into coaching and is considered as one of the top young coaches in the country today. He was one of the coaches of the original Little Azkals which included CdO players Troy Limbo and JB Borlongan.
When the stadium opens next year, Bingbing will be in charge of football. He is the trusted man of club owner Ugur Tasci. How could he not trust a coach who has given him back-to-back titles.
I was in Cebu for almost a week three weeks ago and I am very impressed by the rise of the beautiful game in the Queen City of the South. I saw a full packed Cebu City Sports Complex (Abellana) during the Cebu Global FC versus Davao Aguilas match in the Philippines Football League (PFL).
Last Sunday, fans trooped to Abellana again to witness Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC) dethroned Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu in the Cesafi secondary boys championship.
Thanks to Facebook we witnessed the hair raising pitch invasion of the DBTC fans after the final whistle. The cries of the defeat of the Ateneo de Cebu players were heart breaking but the photos of the DBTC players comforting the Ateneo kids were heart warming.
The explosion of the popularity of the beautiful game in the Queen City of the South is very impressive. Thanks to the efforts of the officials of the CFA led by it’s president Engr. Pericles Dakay.
However, the boom has caused one major. The lack of football facilities. Football clubs and teams are squabbling for pitches to practice and train.
Since the governments of Cebu City, Cebu Province and other towns do not care, never cared and will never care about this problem. It took a foreigner football fanatic to help solve this problem.
Colina said that Leylam FC might even join the Philippines Football League (PFL) as the other Cebu team in the country’s premier competition. If that happens then they will become the first PFL team to own a stadium.
Wait for next year and Cebu’s football community will have their field of dreams that they can call their own. (firstname.lastname@example.org)