By Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan | Sun Star Davao
THERE’S no doubt football has become a craze in the country what with the Philippine Azkals not just getting good breaks in competitions here and abroad but also gracing our TV screens with a handful of endorsements.
Numerous efforts were done and are still being done to promote football in the grassroots level yet little did we know that a related sport, futsal, is fast becoming popular, too.
In Davao City, there have been futsal tournaments held in malls in the past and an ongoing competition at the SM City Davao is about to end this weekend.
It is indeed a welcome move that the Philippine Women’s College (PWC) of Davao recently launched its futsal program for children six to 12 years old.
It was made into effect by virtue of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by PWC management, Maharlika Sports Development Institute Inc. (MSDII), Australasian Footbal Academy Group, Inc. (AFA) and Alma Uy of the City Tourism of Tagum City on July 27 at the PWC covered court that was then transformed into a futsal court.
LFDM chief executive officer Edgar L. Te, also executive director of MSDII, said the MOA was a cooperation agreement among stakeholders.
Te, in an interview, said futsal will be a part of PWC Davao’s curriculum where six to 12 years old kids will be trained to become futsal players. PWC will also serve as venue for other futsal activities in the city.
“From futsal, they can later play football. Fustal is the best way to start honing one’s skills and techniques because there is intense pressure with a small court. Once they learned the ropes of futsal. it would then be easier for them to play in a bigger field,” Te said any school or barangay can start a futsal program because the field requirement is not the same as a regular football field.
At PWC, the covered court floor was matted, removable nets were installed around the area and goals were also in place. These can be removed though whenever the court will be used for other school activities.
Some 15 to 20 kids, boys and girls alike, were the first students of the futsal program.
Te hopes that Davao City will also become a vibrant futsal community just like in Tagum City.
Tagum’s dynamic futsal activity kicked off with the Liga Futsal held during the Maharlika Football Festival last year. Since then, weekly training and games were held.
LFDM and MSDII aim to promote futsal in Mindanao areas where there are active football associations to help complement their football programs with a futsal program.
“The idea is to hold three days of training and one-day competition. We plan to hold an inter-school competition here soon then conduct training and competition for 17-above,” Te added.
Having a futsal program is indeed a welcome respite since in usual school scenario, football varsity players are the ones being chosen to join futsal competitions.
Veteran coach David Dwight Penano, who had been a match commissioner for tournaments here and abroad, welcomed the initiative of stakeholders on starting a futsal program.
“This is a very noble program since not all kids are ready to play in a huge field. Futsal can be a stepping stone for players to also become football athletes. I am very glad that coach Noel (Presto) and I are part of this,” Penano said.
Are the kids not ready for the big field yet? Let them try futsal.