Grassroots development program marks revival of football in Cagayan de Oro

ABS-CBN Sports on May 25, 2015 02:22 PM
Chieffy Caligdong and British coach praise talent in CDO
Chieffy Caligdong and Chris Thomas with CDO's Jerand Hortilano

Football for a Better Life, the grassroots development program run by Filipino football icon Chieffy Caligdong with British football coach Chris Thomas, finished its fourth leg in Cagayan de Oro with close to 80 teams and hundreds of young footballers converging at Bgy. Carmen’s Sports Park field for the two-day event. The teams came from Cagayan de Oro City, Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Iligan, Oroquieta, Valenica, Malaybalay, Manolo Fortich, Naawan, and El Salvador City.

The following emerged as winners in their respective categories: Higala FC in the U-9 category, Olles FC in U-11, Vilma A. Vista FC in U-13, Vilma A. Vista FC in U-15, Uptown FC in U-17, the Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Ass’n. Team A in the Women’s Open, and Manolo United A FC in the Men’s Open.

Chieffy and Coach Chris organized tournaments and conducted clinics aimed at enhancing the skills of football talent and discovering young players. About 300 underprivileged boys and girls—residents of Typhoon Sendong resettlement areas and wards of the Cagayan de Oro-based NGO Philippine Island Kids International Foundation Inc.—were taught drills and encouraged to play football fun games and challenges. 

Chieffy and Chris thank the young footballers, coaches and parents and Cagayan de Oro Misamis Oriental Football Ass’n. (CMOFA) President Percy Guarin for the good turnout. Chieffy said that the response marks the revival of football in CDO. “Noon ang CDO ang center ng mga football event at football festival sa Mindanao. The past few years nag-lie pero ngayon bumabalik na ulit. Excited na muli ang mga Cagayanon sa football,” (CDO used to be the center of football events and festivals in Mindanao; the sport lied low the past few years but it is making a comeback. The Cagayanons are excited about football again.”) said Chieffy. In fact, the former Azkal team captain plans to establish an academy in CDO.

Another indication of the resurgence of football in CDO is the discovery of outstanding talent in the area. Chieffy and Coach Chris were thrilled to meet eight-year old Jerand Hortilano of CDO’s Higala FC whom they described as exceptional. Coach Chris said, “He moves like an experienced player. He has very good ball control and footwork. He works well under pressure and he can get out of a tight situation with ease... If Jerand were living in the UK, he would have been offered trials at the Manchester United and Liverpool Academies!”

 Chieffy said, “Nakita ko kay Jerand ‘yung kabataan ko. Ibang-iba siya!” (“I saw in Jerand who I was when I was young. He’s different from the rest!”)

 Coach Chris hopes that with the proposed Chieffy Caligdong Football Academy in CDO, youngters like Jerand will be given further training to complement what they receive in their respective teams, schools and local football association.

The next Football for a Better Life will be held in Dumaguete on June 13-14.

Check out photos from the fourth leg of the Football for a Better Life program in Cagayan de Oro HERE:



A) U-9 Category

        Higala FC (Champion, score 1)   vs   Fire Wolves FC (1st R-up, score 0)

        VAV FC    (2nd R-up, 3)             vs   Del Monte FC (1) 

        * VAV FC: Vilma A. Vista FC

B) U-11 Category

        Olles FC (Champion, 1)             vs   Higala FC (1st R-up, 0)

        Del Monte FC (2nd R-up, 1)        vs   Fire Wolves FC (0)

C) U-13 Category

        VAV FC (Champion, 1)              vs   Higala FC (1st R-up, 0)

        Lumad Pagadianon FC (2nd R-up, 2) vs Falcons FC (0)  

D) U-15 Category

        VAV FC (Champion, 2)              vs   Higala A FC (1st R-up, 1)

        Higala B FC (2nd R-up, 2)          vs   Liceo FC (1)

E) U-17 Category

        Uptown FC (Champion, 1)          vs   Liceo A FC (1st R-up, 0)

        Firewolves Pagadianon FC (2nd R-up, 1)   vs El Salvador FC (0)

F) Ladies Open

        CMOFA-A (Champion, 1)           vs   Fuse Partum (1st R-up, 0)

        Higala FC (2nd R-up, 2)             vs   Versace FC (0)

    * CMOFA-A: Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental Football Associaton- Team A

 G) Men's Open

        Manolo United A FC (Champion, 2) vs Magis FC (1st R-up, 1)

        Malaybalay United FC (2nd R-up, 1) vs Manolo United B FC (0)

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