Football Para sa Bayan benefits underprivileged communities

All sweat but all smiles, Jan Ray said that he plays football and spend time outdoors because he likes the salty taste of his perspiration. Then he and his teammates laughed.

These adorable kiddos are part of the Maasin Central Elementary School team that joined the TM Football Para sa Bayan clinic, a partnership between Astro Malaysia and Globe Telecom which kicked off in Barotac Nuevo last July 23, 2016.

Will an Ilonggo make it to the top 12 who will join the Astro Kem Bola Advanced Training Programme?

“Having football in Maasin seems impossible because people there are not into the sport,” said Maasin’s head coach Alan Casianan.

A former football player in Dumaguete, Casianan said that he bought a football and gradually enticed children to love the sport. “Children who strolled the plaza got curious and joined the game. Soon, parents brought their toddlers to the plaza so they, too can kick some ball,” he added.

“Football is important to us. We do not have a football field. So we grabbed this opportunity in Barotac Nuevo so that children will experience it. Each child packed his own food so he has something to eat here. The parents are very supportive,” he further said.

Casianan’s young wards are among the 300 children from the province of Iloilo who vied for the chance to join world-class football camps in Malaysia and possibly, Europe for free.

TM Football Para Sa Bayan coach Chieffy Caligdong, Hans Peter Smit of the Green Archers United and Fernando Esguerra, Globe’s director for Citizenship
From the TM Football Para sa Bayan clinic participants, coaches will choose 12 players who will comprise the Philippine team that will attend the Astro Kem Bola Advanced Training Programme in Kuala Lumpur in September together with their counterparts from Singapore and Malaysia.

The selected top players from the Astro Kem Bola Advanced Training Programme will then fly to Europe for two weeks of professional football training in December 2016.

Hans Peter Smit of the Green Archers United and technical director of TM Football Para sa Bayan said, “We are really going to look for the top of the top. It has to be a whole package of skill and attitude. Skills and techniques are learned. Of course, there are kids who have an inborn talent,” he said, adding that it is not an easy task to choose 12 kids.

The kids, ages 10-12, will be selected based on teamwork, discipline, behaviour and sportsmanship, communication on and off the pitch, positive attitude towards teammates, volunteers and coaches, ability to listen to instructions and good personality.

Maasin Central Elementary School team

Fernando Esguerra, Globe’s director for Citizenship, said that they will come up with the names a week after the last leg, August 20. TM Football Para sa Bayan clinics were also held in Talisay (Negros Occidental) and Davao and soon, in Manila for the same purpose.

“We are proud that Astro has chosen TM Football Para sa Bayan as a venue to discover talented kids who would be given an opportunity to further harness their craft and bring them closer to their dreams,” according to Esguerra in a press release from Globe.

“Through our sports advocacy, we hope to forge similar partnerships with other like-minded organizations to help uplift the lives of the youth especially from the marginalized sector and provide them with a platform to showcase their talents,” he concluded.

TM Football Para Sa Bayan is a grassroots program for youth from underprivileged communities. Unlike other sports clinics which charge thousands of pesos, TM Football Para Sa Bayan participation is for free.

“Football is good for the kids because they learn skills, discipline and the right attitude that will benefit them not only on the field but life in general,” said former Azkals players Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong and one of the TM Football Para Sa Bayan coaches./ Kathy Villalon

For press releases and event coverage, you may contact this writer through Iloilo Updates

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