By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

Football event highlights Naga City’s resilient spirit

Posted on February 28, 2017

ONE of the hardest-hit areas by Typhoon Nina late last year, Naga City showed its resiliency in the face of adversity recently with a football event.

Naga City saw the launch of the first Premier League-themed tournament for schoolchildren early this month. It also served to signify Naga City’s “back in business” spirit after being ravaged by Typhoon Nina last year. -- Football for Humanity Foundation
With the help of the Football Council of Naga (FCN) and Football for Humanity Foundation (FFH), the Camarines Sur city saw the launch of the first Premier League-themed tournament for schoolchildren at the football cage located at the LCC Mall grounds in Sabang early this month.

During the event, 10 of the city’s 37 public schools sent 20 football teams which competed in quick, four vs. four plays inside the football cage, which has become a football icon in Naga City.

The cage was constructed under an agreement among the local government unit, the LCC Mall, and the FCN.

The first cage was erected in the town proper in April 2016 before moving. It was relocated to the LCC Mall in October last year before being damaged by Typhoon Nina, which brought massive flooding in the area, in December.

Proponents of the event said the tournament this month signified the revival of the football cage, designed by British Chris Thomas, volunteer football director of the FCN and founder of FFH, and built as a complement to the city’s push to promote grassroots football.

It also served to highlight Naga City’s “back in business” spirit, they added.

Present during the tournament launch were Vice-President Leni Robredo, District Rep. Gabriel Bordado, Jr., Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat, and DepEd Superintendent Dr. William Gando.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad also made his first visit in the city and lend his support to the event.

“The children are delighted with the numerous activities that the FCN and FFH have promoted since last year. We have seen the tremendous improvement in the sport at the grassroots level. What we have in Naga is quite unique because the tight collaboration between the LGU, the Department of Education (DepEd), and the football advocates has increased football’s popularity by leaps and bounds,” said Richmond Canlas, president of the FCN.

The FCN and FFH, in just short a time, have collaborated in a number of football projects both on and off the field, including aiding the city government in its anti-drugs campaign.

They also shared that plans to bring in foreign football athlete volunteers to do community work for the second year in a row are on track.

“This year we will have more volunteers from the United Kingdom -- young men and women who want to bring the transformative powers of sports and play to the world,” FFH’s Thomas said.

Apart from the football activities, the event also featured hip hop dancer and choreographer Bismarc Naling, who conducted a free dance clinic at the LCC Mall Events Center, so as to engage other kids who do not play football and maybe inspire them to pick up the sport as well.

For Naga City Mayor Bongat, he said hopes that the football event serves as an inspiration for his constituents to continue to work together for worthy causes and in raising the community especially when challenges occur.

He also expressed his dreams of making Naga City a top-class football city where future talents can be culled from.