CFC ties up with Turkey’s Hatayspor to develop football in Cebu, PH

CFC, HATAYSPOR TIE UP FOR FOOTBALL IN CEBU. CFC's players, coaching staff, and officials pose for a group photo during the grand media day on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex in Talisay City, SRP. | Photo by Glendale G. Rosal

CFC’s players, coaching staff, and officials pose for a group photo during the grand media day on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex in Talisay City, SRP. | Glendale G. Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The partnership between the Cebu Football Club (CFC) and Turkey Süper Lig’s Hatayspor aims to bridge the football culture between the two countries.

In the grand media day of CFC on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, CFC owner Ugur Tasci said during his speech that their partnership with Hatayspor aimed to develop football not just in Cebu but in the entire country.

The two football club’s covenant will take centerstage on Monday, April 25, as CFC starts their campaign in the Copa Paulino Alcantara of the Philippines Football League (PFL) in Carmona, Cavite against the Stallion Laguna FC. 

Their game against Laguna is one of the six scheduled matches for their entire campaign in the PFL. 

“Hatayspor and CFC have a partnership to develop football. With this partnership we have Cebu football to be developed, we will bring our talented players to Hatay in Turkey, while Turkish players are brought here to join the CFC in tournaments. Hopefully we will exchange a lot of players in the future,” said Tasci during his speech. 

CFC is reinforced by three Turkish players from Hatayspor as part of their football exchange program where players from Turkey are brought here to play for CFC and vice versa. 

Turkish players in Nazim Ozcan (defender), Arda Cinker (striker), and Mert Altnoz (midfield) from Hatayspor, Turkey reinforced CFC’s roster for the PFL. 

In addition, they will be coached by former Turkish top striker Mehmet Kakil with assistant coach Levent Ozturk of Hatayspor. 

Hatay is a province in Turkey known for its culture and heritage. It is also known for its football club, Hatayspor that is currently competing in Süper Lig which is Turkey’s nationall football league with UEFA Champions League being its international cup equivalent to the AFC in Asia. 

Earlier this year, Tasci went to Hatay to formally forge the partnership between Hatayspor and CFC. Hatayspor’s president and Hatay Mayor, Dr. Lutfu Savas, and Tasci signed an agreement to formalize their partnership. 

Their partnership is also aiming to strengthen ties between Cebu and Hatay as sister cities. 

Ready for action

One of CFC’s players, Baris Tasci, said they were ready to dive into action in the PFL next week. 

He said that they were hungrier to win the tournament compared to last year during their debut in the PFL’s Copa Paulino Alcantara.

Tasci, the son of Ugur and brother of CFC’s team captain Evren, said that they would now focus more on the offense and attacking compared to last year where they played more defensively.

“The coaches are definitely helping the team becoming more prepared for the tournament compared to last year. Our practices this year are fun, more motivational, everyone’s hungry, working hard, this year, we really want to get the cup,” said Tasci.

The club welcomed six new players, including the three Turkish booters from Hatayspor. 

Ace striker Kintaro Miyagi and trusted goalkeeper Nathanael Villanueva is still with the team along with homegrown players in Lorenzo Gengo, Ruffy Llorente, John Roy Melgo III, and Steven Patalinghug.

No language barrier

Although Kakil and Ozturk are not that fluent in speaking English, they both agree that they are not having a hard time communicating with everyone in the club.

“For now there’s no problem so far with regards to language barrier, because football has one language. We can pass on the message easily during practices, but in the match, there might be more detailed instructions to the players, that can be a problem, but Ugur Tasci will be there to translate it to the players,” said Kakil.

He also pointed out that Cebu has a huge potential in football which can grow bigger if the program is sustained in the next coming years. 

“There’s a big difference of football in the Philippines and Turkey, but in a few years, the Philippines can develop football further if they sustain their program. The coaching and the programs in the Philippines is not as big as Turkey, but in time, the standards can improve, there’s a potential,” added Kakil. 

The team will fly to Carmona, Cavite tomorrow, Friday, for the PFL.


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Cebu FC loses to Laguna FC in PH Football League’s Copa debut


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