'Football for Peace' opens Saturday

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 19, 2016 03:51 PM
'Football for Peace' opens Saturday
One Meralco Foundation and the Loyola Meralco Sparks team up with the Philippine Marine Corps to promote peace through football.

Football can be an instrument for peace especially in the conflict-torn south.

Instilling peace-loving values of sportsmanship, camaraderie, teamwork, and discipline in the minds of young athletes, especially those living in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), One Meralco Foundation and the Loyola Meralco Sparks team up anew with the Philippine Marine Corps to stage the fifth ‘Football for Peace Festival’ from April 23-29.

Around 218 kids from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Misamis, Lanao del Sur, Pagadian, Bohol, and Palawan are participating in the festival, highlighted by the holding of exhibition games to be held at the football field of the Philippine Marine Corps general headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The kids are set to embark in a series of exposure activities such as visits to factories, educational institutions, historical landmarks and science museums.

By the end of the festival, they will be grouped into teams and will compete with various football clubs from Metro Manila and other nearby provinces in Luzon.

“It’s an ongoing activity year in and year out which culminates in the ‘Football for Peace’ in Manila,” said event co-founder Rookie Nagtalon during the formal launching of the advocacy at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate.

Nagtalon was joined in the session by One Meralco president Jeffrey Tarayao, Capt. Ryan Lacuesta and Capt. Gandesa of the Philippine Mariner Corps, Loyola Sparks coach Simon McMenemy, and players James Younghusband and Ricardo Padilla.

As part of their preparation for the festival, the kids will undergo a football clinic sponsored by One Meralco Foundation and facilitated by the Loyola Meralco Sparks under McMenemy, the former Philippine Azkals coach.

The clinic is set on April 26 at the University of Makati Stadium, where members of the Loyola Meralco team will teach the young athletes advanced techniques which could help them gain an advantage over their more experienced competitors.

James and brother Phil Younghusband will also be around to meet the kids during training.

“It is a great honor for us to be chosen by the Philippine Marine Corps as their partner in this inspiring initiative. We have been supporting ‘Football for Peace’ since 2011 and we are committed to sustaining this valuable cause,” said Tarayao.

“Our shared belief of building the skills of our young people to become responsible, productive, and peace-loving citizens will hopefully lead us to a better country. One Meralco Foundation’s participation in the program is a concrete expression of its commitment to youth development through sports.”

The event was started by the Marines in 2011 under Lt. Col. Stephen L. Cabanlet.

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