LONDON -- THIS year's United Football League (UFL) 1st division race was the league's best in their brief history of existence as the Philippines' premier football competition.
Global's snatching the title from Kaya is comparable to Manchester City's stealing away the English Premier League title from neighbour Manchester United.
Global held Loyola Smart Meralco to a 1-1 draw and finished the season with 42 points, the same as Kaya. However they won the title with a higher goal difference.
They have won three championship trophies in a row already, the 2nd division title in 2009-2010 season, a feat won without suffering a defeat, the United Football Cup in 2010-11 and the 2011-2012 United Football League first division title. They were also runner-up to Airforce in their initial campaign in the first division last year.
But after parading the trophy and celebrating the night away Global FC do not intend to sit on their laurels and be contented of what they have won.
The architect of all these successes, Gobal FC chairman Dan Stephen Palami, has tons of plans for Global. Just like his intention of making the Philippine Azkals a top team in Asia and probably a top team in the world someday, Palami wants Global to remain as the number one football club in the country.
''Global intend to continue to fulfil our mission of being the best club in the country in so far as Competitions, Social Responsibility, and uplifting Philippines football in general,'' Palami told this writer in an online interview.
Global has a formidable line-up during the recent UFL which include Azkals Misagh Bahadoran, Angel Guirado and Carli de Murga, young stars Paolo Pascual, the Angeles siblings Marwin and Marvin, Patrick Reichelt, plus a bunch of foreign recruits.
These foreigners many of them are Africans like brothers striker Izzo and Badrelin Elhabbib of Sudan. Izzo is the club's top scorer this season with 13 goals to his name while Badrelin is a pillar of strength of Global's defence.
In spite of this strong line-up Palami will not stop from recruiting good players. He added that his intention is to build on the core of players who have been consistently performing well and at the same time he is looking at prospects, local and international, who could augment the team's player resources.
''But of course this goes hand in hand with the responsibility of the club to make available our players for national duties,'' he added.
Aside from putting up a strong team in the UFL tournaments and other competitions, Global are also facing a bright future ahead of them as Palami also wants to put up and develop youth , women's, and children teams.
He is also seeking a ''home city'' where the club will be based in the future and where they could build infrastructures for a mini stadium and as well as a practice pitch. He promised that all these plans will be finalised soon.
If you observed in the past competition, Global is one of the few clubs without a shirt sponsor. Palami did not intend to continue that but he has a purpose on why he did not find sponsors. ''I was not really in much hurry because personally the intention was always for sponsors to come in only after we won the League title,'' he said.
He added that sometimes his friends call him stupid for his stubbornness in dealing with sponsors only after he could tell them,'' You have the best club inthe Philippines carrying your name.''
Then who else is sponsoring the best club in the country, but the country's biggest conglomerate, San Miguel Corporation. Negotiations have started for SMC to sponsor Global few months back but nothing was signed because both parties were too busy to sit down and talk about the terms.
This time since it is off season, Palami and SMC will sit down again and finalise everything. Next tournament expect Global to splash one of San Miguel's product across their shirts.
SMC's entry to the UFL will be great for the league. How many times I have questioned why San Miguel is spending millions for basketball having maintained three teams in the PBA, Ginebra San Miguel, B-Meg and Petron. SMC also has a team in the Asean Basketball League.
This time I wish SMC will be serious enough and imitate other companies like Smart, LBC, Globe, Auction Manila, Phoenix Oil, and lay their money on the table and spend for football.
Global had a roller coaster season. They lost to the lowly Philippine Army at the start of the season and lost their coach Graeme Mackinnon. I was excited when Palami hired my old friend from Cebu who is now based in Australia but was sad when Mackinnon resigned before his UFL coaching career could even take off.
Mackinnon left the club with a heavy heart citing family problems. He remains a close friend to Palami and even attended Dan's younger brother's wedding in Boracay.
Palami said that despite of the early setbacks he credits the efforts of all his players and his staff for the success of the club this year.
"This title somehow compensates for all the efforts and sacrifices the team had to go through this season. We lost to Army and again to Loyola early. We had coaching changes and missed some Azkals in some important matches. The multicultural composition of the team initially created misunderstandings among the players but we pulled through and that sustained throughout the season.''
Global had a great escape to capture the UFL title last week. The club will face tougher times when the next competition starts as other clubs are also expected to build-up. But with Palami in charge, Global will be ready to face the next challenge. GOD BLESS firstname.lastname@example.org