PAGCOR-funded "Kasibulan Football Program" trains additional 55,000 kids

Wednesday | May 4, 2016 | 4:00 PM

A football coach explains the rudiments of the sport to young participants during a football festival held recently in Catanduanes.

An additional 55,000 Filipino boys and girls ages six to 13 years old are expected to participate in the Kasibulan Grassroots Football Development Program (2015-2017) organized by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) through the financial assistance of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Four years ago, PAGCOR bankrolled the same grassroots football program with P20 million financial aid. This year, the P15 million donation to PFF will cover not only the training expenses of the children who play football but also the training of 7,200 teachers-coaches who have been supporting the project since June 2015.

PAGCOR Assistant Vice President for Corporate Communications Maricar Bautista said the additional financial support will enable the PFF to expand its reach, especially in far-flung communities. “When PAGCOR donated P20 million to PFF in 2012, the Kasibulan Grassroots Football Program was able to train 65,774 girls and boys as well as 10,474 football coach-educators in more than 200 areas in the country. We want to continue this noble endeavor that is why we keep on supporting this program,” Bautista said.

The Kasibulan Grassroots Football Festival is a three-day activity that provides teachers the rudiments of the football game and the process of organizing a tournament. On the last day, 500 students will be invited to participate and play football.

The program also provides venues for young football enthusiasts in different parts of the country to develop their agility, skills and passion for football. “We are hopeful that through this program, many of these kids will become part of the national team and represent the country in international football tournaments,” Bautista enthused.

Meanwhile, PFF’s National Grassroots Officer Aquilino Pastoral III shared that the PFF-PAGCOR grassroots football program has been creating great impact to young participants. “Actually, gumaling na yung mga bata. Kaya kami sa PFF, hindi na kami nahihirapan na mag-hanap ng national players natin na ipapadala sa ibang bansa,” Pastoral said.

He stressed that the funding from PAGCOR greatly helps them in enticing more individuals to play football. “PAGCOR enabled us to re-start this program in 2012 and because of that, other private entities including the international community have also given their support. Lahat naman siguro ng bansa naniniwala na the only way to have a competitive national team is to have a strong grassroots program. Yun yung ginagawa natin through the help of PAGCOR,” Pastoral said.

Aside from learning how to play football, the kids enrolled in the program also learn the value of discipline. “Some coaches require them to study hard or get good grades so they can join the training, kaya marami dyan na-i-encourage mag-aral ng mabuti. Nakaka-tulong din yung program na ma-ilayo ang mga bata sa masamang bisyo,” Pastoral said.

Football coaches likewise benefit from the trainings that the program offers. “Marami din tayong naitutulong sa mga teachers. Primarily, they gain confidence in teaching football in the field. Alam na nila yung gagawin at nabibigyan din natin sila ng tamang direksyon sa football coaching ng Philippines,” Pastoral added.

Antonio Noel Mariscal, football coach for 20-years, acknowledged PAGCOR’s huge support in the development of football in the country. “Ang philosophy ng grassroots training ay dalhin sa ibat-ibang areas at i-open for everyone. Isa sa pinaka-mahirap na ginagawa ng coach ay ang mag-hanap ng sponsor to support the training. Malaking bagay ang pakikipag-tulungan ng pagcor sa pagbibigay ng financial resources para magawa natin ang ganito kalaking program nationwide,” he said.

Meanwhile, Frankie Ledda, Grade 6 student of Virac Pilot Elementary School in Catanduanes was happy to see young football enthusiasts join the recently-concluded Kasibulan Grassroots Football Festival held in their province. Almost 500 boys and girls participated in the PAGCOR-PFF football clinic last month which was held at the Department of Education Sports Complex in Virac.

“Salamat po sa pagbibigay ng suporta sa mga football players. Tama po na nagkaroon ng ganito kasi marami pang batang maliliit na matututo na maglaro ng football,” Ledda said.

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