Inter-City Derby: Kaya FC Vs. Loyola FC

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3 years ago

There are 10 Loyola Divers in the Air!

There are 10 Loyola Divers in the Air!

There are 10 Loyola Divers! 10 Loyola Divers!

10 Loyola Divers in the air!

And the boys of Kaya FC shot them down!

And the boys of Kaya FC shot them down!

And the boys of Kaya FC! Boys from Kaya FC!

The boys of Kaya FC shot them down!

The following chant above is similar to the tune of 10 German Bombers created by the supporters of the English National Football Team. With their influence, we created a song for the Loyola Meralco Sparks because of their superb acting once they've been tackled on then complaining with the referee. I saw this post (photo below) from Eat, Sleep, Breathe, Football on Facebook which brings me back to the days where our local Football league is on the rise in 2012 (2 years after their milestone in the national scene - the Miracle of Hanoi).

The Manila Clasico of Football. Kaya FC Vs. Loyola FC

The rivalry between Kaya FC & Loyola Meralco Sparks died out in 2017, when Kaya decided to move south from Makati City to Iloilo, while FC Meralco Manila (previous name of Loyola Meralco Sparks) withdraws from the following year's league tournament due to financial constraints, but they renamed the club as Loyola FC as fans are hoping for the club's return in our domestic league. If Filipino Basketball has the Manila Clasico - the rivalry between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and the Magnolia Hotshots. In Filipino Football, it is the rivalry between 2 clubs founded in the capital region - Kaya Futbol Club & Loyola Meralco Sparks (now Loyola FC). Let's take a look at both clubs' history, achievements, and milestones.

From my previous article, in which I shared my experiences as a Capo/Lead Drummer of Ultras Kaya, tells the club's short story about how one of the founders named it. To add it up, Kaya FC was founded in July 1996 when men played futsal inside of a wooden basketball court at the old Makati campus of the International School Manila at Century City, Makati. Aside from Coach Rudy Del Rosario (rest in Jah paradise, brother), there was Chris Hagedorn, Bob Kovach, and John-Ray Bela-ong as the founders of Kaya FC. They began to play from 7-a-side Football tournaments to 11-a-side Football tournaments which they became one of the founding members of the United Football League - one of our previous football leagues before the Philippines Football League.

Throughout its 6 seasons, they finished second behind Philippine Air Force in 2010, but they finished 4th place and lost to Global FC 2 - 1 for the UFL Cup '11 Battle for 3rd. During the semi-finals of the UFL Cup '11, a heated rivalry sparked at Rizal Memorial Stadium between Kaya & Loyola Meralco Sparks FC as they lost to Loyola 5 - 4. In 2012, Juan Cutillas left and was replaced by Michael Alvarez as Interim Head Coach. The Lions won in 4th place during the league tournament and only reached the quarter-final match of the UFL Cup '12. Alvarez steps down as head coach before the UFL '13 season starts and was replaced by Maor Rozen.

Kaya participated in the PFF's National Men's Club Championship as they beat M'lang 5 - nil in Koronadal, the Sparks crossed paths with the Lions again this time Kaya won 1 - nil in the quarterfinals but failed to enter the semis when a new challenger enters the pitch, Ceres-La Salle (before Ceres-Negros FC/United City FC) as the giant killers of the tournament and they won 3 - 1. During the Battle for 3rd, Kaya won against Green Archers United 2 - nil, and Ceres-La Salle won 1 - nil against Pasargad FC as the National Club Champion. During the UFL '13 season, Maor Rozen steps down after 3 matches, Melo Sabacan - GK Coach of Kaya steps in as Interim Head Coach, and was replaced by David Perković. Again, Kaya finished 4th place in this season, but we'll never forget how they beat Global FC and Loyola Meralco Sparks, it was the best night of our lives but Kaya lost to PAF FC 1 - nil at the Round of 16 of the UFL Cup '13. With improvements, Kaya won 3rd place during the UFL '14 season and Perković decided to leave the club as his last match will be against Loyola Sparks.

After that dramatic victory against Ceres-Negros FC, Kaya FC won the UFL Cup '15 on August 28, 2015.

The 2015 season was one of their milestones in Filipino Football. Adam Reekie was replaced by David Perković but during the UFL '15 season, again Kaya won 4th place. Then Reekie resigns as head coach, and Fabien Lewis was chosen to be the Interim Head Coach. When Lewis left the sides, Chris Greatwich took the helm as gaffer of the UFL Cup '15, finishing top of the table in Group B as they took on Manila Nomads 10 - 1, JP Voltes 8 - nil, the semi-final clash against Stallions, as both teams were at 3 - 3, with additional stoppage time which went to a penalty shootout. Kaya won 5 - 4 penalties after GK Nick O'Donnell denies Ian Araneta's shot, as the Lions make their first UFL Cup Finals appearance while Ceres won 1 - nil against Loyola. On August 28, 2015, it was the UFL Cup '15 Finals between Kaya FC against Ceres-Negros FC while Stallions FC & Loyola will go head-to-head for the Battle for 3rd. The final match will determine who will represent our country for the AFC Cup 2016 as the match ended a draw (2 - 2), with additional stoppage time which leads to a penalty shootout. GK Nick O'Donnell denies 2 shots from Paul Mulders & Martin Steuble as Kaya won 4 - 2 securing the spot for the AFC Cup 2016, and winners of the UFL Cup '15. I was there and witnessed that dramatic battle on the pitch with my brothers at Ultras Kaya.

I was there (wearing an OMG shirt), and witnessed that dramatic battle on the pitch with my brothers at Ultras Kaya.

With the last season of the UFL in 2016, Chris Greatwich became the official head coach of Kaya FC. During the tournament draw in December 2015, Kaya will go head-to-head with Kitchee of Hong Kong; making their 1st appearance on February 23, 2016, but lost 1 - nil at Mong Kok Stadium. On March 8, 2016, Kaya faced New Radiant of Maldives as the club celebrates their 20th anniversary, Kaya won 1 - nil with their 1st 3 points, first win, and a first home game at Rizal Memorial Stadium in an international competition, and Balestier Khalsa of Singapore on April 12, 2016, with a score of 3 - nil. As the Lions entered the Round of 16 facing Johor Darul Ta'zim when Harimau Selatan (the Southern Tigers) won 7 - 2. In 2017, Kaya FC named the University of Makati (also known as UMAK) as their stadium of choice for the upcoming Philippine Football League as the association football clubs of the Philippines compete from their respective city of choice. For us Ultras, the UMAK is our wonderland, and Kaya made changes with their crest adding Makati City while the founding year was placed inside the ball of the crest. Kaya finished 3rd in the PFL '17 season but lost to Ceres-Negros in the semi-finals. The following year (2018), Kaya moved to La Paz, Iloilo City making Iloilo Sports Complex their new stadium and their crest changed from Makati City to Iloilo, but they were able to secure a spot for the AFC Cup 2019 as they beat Davao Aguilas in the final match of the Copa Paulino Alcantara 2018. Last year's season of the PFL, Kaya breaks the unbeaten run when they beat United City FC after 2 years with 3 wins & 2 draws.

As I've said before, it is very painful for me to accept the club's decision after supporting them for 6 years. I don't have a choice since that was their decision and move on with it. Kaya's crest (the lead image) is based on the pan-African colors that are associated with Rhastafraianism which became a heavy influence on the club's founding members. The stars surrounding the crest is a tribute to Bela-ong. Each star represents every year of his life, he died in 2002 at the age of 31 and got stabbed to death while dropping off a bus in Quezon City. He was carrying the materials needed for the club's uniforms, but stolen by his killers. Loyola FC, on the other hand, their crest came from the Shield of Oñaz-Loyola which is from St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the seal of the ADMU which the club's foundation were former students and players of the Blue Eagles. The colors are gold, maroon, and blue representing nobility, strength, and loyalty. The diagonal 7 maroon bars from the upper left to the lower right on a goldfield on the left side, while the pair of gray wolves with a cooking pot on the right-side. The wolves are a symbol of nobility, it represents the players and fans of the club. In 2017, they replaced the gray wolves with a sea-lion as they represent the City of Manila during the PFL '17 season.

Before Loyola FC, they were Loyola Agila FC founded in 2006. The team was named after their university's patron saint (mentioned above), while Agila translates to Eagle. Also, a founding member of the United Football League as they finished 4th place in the UFL '10 season. The following year, the club enlists the Younghusbands (Phil & James) and the Hartmann (Darren, Matthew, and Mark) brothers. The club was taken over by Manuel V. Pangilinan, owner of the MVP Sports Foundation and Meralco, hence changing their name to Loyola Meralco Sparks FC. They had a successful campaign the UFL Cup '11, but they lost to their final match against Philippine Air Force by 2 - nil on December 10, 2011.

I've mentioned earlier that the rivalry on both of these clubs sparked on the pitch during their Semi-Finals match of the UFL Cup, and that continued on the following season. Whether the venue will be at Rizal Memorial Stadium, or UMAK? I got to tell you, it's the most attended match of the season, but we'll get to that later on. During the UFL '12 season, they dominate the game as they topped all clubs, but they ended 3rd place after a 1-all draw against Global FC, which they became the UFL '12 league champions. Meralco Sparks was invited to play in the Singapore Cup '12 as they face Geylang United FC, Kanbawza, Tampines Rovers FC, and Gombak United. They also participated in the UFL Cup '12, but they were defeated by Global FC.

PFF's National Men's Club Championship Quarterfinals as we won 1 - nil against Meralco Sparks. Until we lit up flares inside the stadium.

In 2013, they also compete in the PFF's National Men's Club Championship, but they were eliminated by the Lions 1 - nil in the quarterfinals. In the Singapore Cup '13, they played with Harimau Muda B and reached the quarterfinals against Tanjong Pagar United but lost by 5 - 4 on aggregate. After their elimination, they participated again in the UFL Cup '13 beating Dolphins United and Philippine Navy with 9 - nil. With their UFL '14 season, they were behind with eventual champions Global FC and Kaya. Meralco Sparks changed their name to FC Meralco Manila, while Rizal Memorial Stadium as their home ground and selecting Manila as their home city. Until the club decided not to participate in the following year's tournament due to the lack of investors and renamed the club as Loyola FC, however, their youth academy continued their operations as they participate in other local tournaments, also in the Philam Life 7s Football League.

Kaya FC Vs. Loyola Meralco Sparks FC during the United Football League '12 season at Rizal Memorial Stadium. Grandstand in full capacity.

Now, we've looked at the club's history, milestones, and achievements, to define what a derby is - a rivalry between two teams, it can be a feud and more than just an ordinary match; these are matters where the pride of the club and fans are at stake. Going back to what I've mentioned earlier, the rivalry on both of these clubs started in the semi-final match of the UFL Cup '12. With the club's foundation, Kaya FC started in Makati City, while Loyola FC from their alma mater in Quezon City. With the following season in UFL '12, once both of these clubs meet on the pitch it is one of the most attended matches in Filipino Football history either RMS or UMAK, as the whole grandstand mostly in full capacity before the national league came in. We were only a few members on our side, but from Loyola, they did everything as they invite linesmen from Meralco, while fangirls root for the Younghusbands, even for the Hartmanns or any foreign player they're cheering for. These girls don't even understand simple football rules, even the Offside rule. That's how their club did it to gain more fans, and the girls need proper education on how the sport works. But from our side, we would make banter chants for the fangirls, for us to get more numbers we patiently wait once a new member (can be solo or a group of friends) would step in to join the Ultras, or the club would invite one of their beneficiaries mostly kids & pre-teens as they try to sing with the group. At first, we would get lost to Loyola, then a draw, eventually, we won against them during the UFL '13 season and it was the best night of our lives even if they're on top of the table. Then the PFL, our national league came in and only a few people would watch the games live unlike before. Meralco now has their own Ultras group called Frente Naranja which they based on the club's colors, and even if we are rivals in our local league, we answer the call to support our national athletes.

Until everything changed like a nuclear bomb. Kaya FC - Makati moved to Iloilo City and FC Meralco Manila steps down to compete in the tournament while their youth program continues to participate in other tournaments, including the Philam Life 7s Football League. With the conclusion of last year's league, there are rumors that Loyola FC will return for this year's Copa Paulino Alcantara. Even if Kaya represents the Visayas region, while Loyola remains in the capital region their rivalry will always be the stuff of legends, and we cannot wait to see them again in action on the pitch.

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3 years ago