Bohemian SC aims to challenge for title in 7’s Football League debut

Newly revived Filipino football club, Bohemian SC, has shown its serious intent to win the championship in its first foray into the 7’s Football League with three key preseason acquisitions.

Confirmed new players are forwards Izo Elhabib, Hamed Hajimehdi, and midfielder Daniel Matsunaga – three players who are expected to provide much needed experience and firepower.

As of this writing, Bohemian SC is also in the process of signing Ghanaian defender Valentine “Val” Kama [who had stints with Global, Ceres, and Ilocos United], according to club chairman Jason De Jong, pending confirmation via the club’s official media channels.

Sudanese Izo Elhabib made a name in the UFL during his fruitful stint with Kaya FC as a striker by being the league’s top-scorer in 2010, before moving to Global and eventually Laos FC where he continued to stamp his reputation as one of the more prolific forwards in the Philippine club football scene with his predatory instincts inside the box.

Hamed Hajimehdi, who hailed from Iran, had stints with Pasargad, Stallion and Laos. He also is a capable goalscorer and a specialist in set-pieces and penalty kicks. He has been a part of Bohemian Sporting Club academy’s coaching staff before agreeing on a one-year term to play for the 7’s Football League squad.

Daniel Matsunaga meanwhile, who is more recognized in Philippine mainstream media as a model and an actor, is actually a competent midfielder who had tenures with UFL clubs such as Team Socceroo, Pachanga Diliman and Kaya FC.

Such preseason moves show that the revival club of the once mighty Bohemian of the 1910’s is intent in going far and challenging in the upcoming third season of the league founded by former Azkals defender, Anton Del Rosario.

“I think it’s clear that we [as an organization] want to win the 7’s Football League,” according to club chairman Jason De Jong in an online interview.

It is to note that the first two seasons of the 7’s have been won by the Super Eagles.

Despite, the high aim of Bohemian in the amateur league, the club is keeping its feet planted well on the ground when it comes to developing the senior squad, clarifying the mission in fielding a first team in the year 2020.

“The target never was to be a [professional] club in 2020. To make this clear to everyone, the target is to revive the first team of the Bohemian Sporting Club in 2020,” added the former Azkal turned club executive.

“We will achieve that this year already by fielding a team in the Weekend Futbol League. The WFL is an amateur league and that is where we will start. We are looking to build a stable club that is able to survive on its own. We will slowly build the club back up.

“When you start a club, we believe you start in the lowest division in whatever country you are from and slowly move up the ranks. We have multiple examples in the Philippines with clubs coming in splashing ridiculous money around and, in the end, are not able to sustain [the costs]. If that means we have to play in the WFL for the next 5 seasons [to build up our sustainability for the professional level, then] that is fine.

“In the long run, we are looking to become a [professional] club – but in the right time. We are not in a rush,” concluded the chairman.

Before being fully revived as a footballing entity in 2018, Bohemian SC was considered as the most dominant force in the earliest phase of the Philippines’ footballing landscape in the 1910’s before reaching dormancy in the 1930’s, which if only was sustained, could have made the club one of the most storied in Asia [and maybe the world – given the year of its foundation and early winning tradition] when it comes to the sport.

But socio-political shifts in the Philippines as a colony, then as an independent nation, followed by the breakout and aftermath of the second World War, severely stunted the development of football within the archipelago that also affected the club’s initial existence.