Sports


Welsh League legend Marc Lloyd Williams still championing football




Posted on June 06, 2016


MARC LLOYD Williams loves his football.

Marc Lloyd Williams -- Chris Thomas/Football Council of Naga
A legend of the Welsh Premier League, the noted striker used his passion and dedication to the sport to be the all-time top scorer and Hall-of-Famer in the league. And those same qualities continue to be the motor that keeps him going in championing football even beyond competitive play.

Mr. Williams was recently in the country to take part in a historic signing of a football exchange program between the city of Naga in Bicol and their group from Wales, United Kingdom.

The program will allow the partners to send coaches and students to their respective locations for more advanced football education and training as well as do social work for the community.

The Welsh League legend, who is now a sports educator at Wales-based Llandrillo Menai International, along with fellow coach David Webb, joined the Football Council of Naga (FCN) in giving lectures and clinics to children and local teachers to prepare them for the Council’s long-term sustainable football development program.

FCN’s vision is to produce world-class football players from the Bicol region that has recently seen a resurgence of the sport.

The experience was both “humbling and reaffirming” for him, admitted Mr. Williams, and something that only heightened his desire to have their program succeed.

“Well I heard that the Philippines is not so much of a football country as basketball is the no. 1 sport here. But the sport has been picking up and what is being done in Naga should further help that growth,” said Mr. Williams in an interview with BusinessWorld upon their return from Naga City.

“The football council is doing a good job in promoting the sport on the grassroots level, getting the community involved and the different barangays. And the program being tied to community work -- partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the community -- is I think a good approach,” added the striker, who finished his career in the Welsh League as the all-time leading scorer with 319 goals in 497 appearances.

Having the backing of the city mayor and the Education department, too, is also key, he highlighted, in ensuring that football development in the area will be sustained.

POTENTIAL
While their stay in the country was short, it was enough to convince Mr. Williams of the potential of the Philippines as a football nation.

“I have seen some players who are good in their techniques and just need to be developed the right way. I also saw the passion in them,” he said.

He, however, underscored that it will take time to grow football in the country much like it did in other places like the United States, and that stakeholders should do their part in the development.

“The country’s football federation and the Asian Football Confederation play a big role. They have to put the sport at the forefront and promote it well. As much as possible games must be shown to more people and grassroots football development further cultivated. The training of more coaches and improvement of facilities are also important,” said Mr. Williams, who shared that he cannot wait to go back to Wales and tell of their experience in Naga, and then return here to get the program rolling.

A true student of the game, practice and listening to coaches were a big part of the success he had in the sport, Mr. Williams said, adding that to have been able to do what did on the pitch was very gratifying.

“Just like in any other sports, practice and listening to coaches will go a long way. Take everything and apply it,” he noted.

Mr. Williams, who also does football TV work, shared as well his thoughts on the about-to-begin 2016 UEFA European Championship, saying it is going to be an “open tournament” with a number of teams, including the likes of England, Wales, France, Spain and Italy, making a strong run at the title. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo