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For the love of the game

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For the love of the game

Book
Philippine Football: Its Past, Its Future
By Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas
Published by the Center for Research and Communication of the University of Asia & the Pacific
232 pages

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

While his appreciation of football may not be as long-standing as other stakeholders in the country, this did not stop economist Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas from writing a book about “the beautiful game” and how it presents a wide range of opportunities on various levels.

For the love of the game
Economist and football fan Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas, author of the of the book Philippine Football: Its Past, Its Future

After three years of work, the book Philippine Football: Its Past, Its Future was officially launched last month.

A 232-page paperback, Philippine Football is published by the Center for Research and Communication of the University of Asia & the Pacific and supported by the Philippine Football Federation.

In making the book, Mr. Villegas engaged the help of a number of writers, namely, Alberto Ramirez, Ignacio Dee, Rick Olivares, Manolo Pedralvez, Bill Velasco, and Stella Marie Urbiztondo, who, like him, see the potential of football in the country and share the vision of growing it further.

“I came up with the book so that readers could have a clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses of how football developed in the Philippines, with the goal of promoting the sport in the country,” Mr. Villegas told a group of writers at the sidelines of the launch.

“Besides encouraging the growth of football, I also wish to encourage Filipino children to have a passion for the ‘beautiful game,’ so that hopefully we would get to the World Cup before the 21st century is over,” added Mr. Villegas, who shared that his passion for football was  lit up while he was a visiting professor at the IESE Business School in Barcelona 10 years ago and had a chance to be exposed extensively to the game.

Divided into nine chapters, Philippine Football underscores the importance of looking to the past to prepare for the future of the sport.

For the love of the game

It discusses the beginnings of football in the country, including the pioneers and the early stars in the Philippines, how interest in it waned as the years went by, and its rebirth over the last decade.

Along the way it touches on collegiate leagues and other local tournaments, and the arrival of Fil-foreigners to play in the country and their impact.

BUSINESSES’ ROLE
A noted economist, Mr. Villegas also discusses the role football can play in nation-building and in local business just as he encourages companies to rally behind the sport.

“Apart from helping in developing a sport that Filipinos can truly excel in, businesses must see that football can complement them as a brand,” he said.

“It has been happening in different places. It can happen here. You can see it in Europe, like in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy, and in China and some Southeast Asian countries. In these places, companies have done their part in further cultivating the football culture that is mutually beneficial for them,” he added.

Seeing how the book runs in line with what they want to achieve in the federation, PFF President Mariano Araneta said they are completely behind it.

“I would recommend the book to football players, officials, stakeholders, and anyone who loves football — especially children and the youth, who will be the next generation of futsal and football players,” said Mariano Araneta, Jr., PFF president, of the book.

In the book’s introduction, proponents mention that their end game with coming up with Philippine Football: Its Past, Its Future is to “fill an age-old void in terms of a go-to source for football knowledge. It is our hope that as it does, the book also contributes, in whatever way, to the objective of putting football in its rightful place, and seeing the beneficial effects of that development influence the various aspects of Filipino life.”

“Football has made significant strides in the last decade but it can be taken to a higher plane. Hopefully with this book people get to see that while at same time enjoying reading it,” Mr. Villegas said.

Philippine Football: Its Past, Its Future is available at Fully Booked outlets for P650. One may also call the Center for Research and Communication at 637-0912 local 350, 634-5874, or e-mail Rio Quiza, Administrative Assistant for Publications, at rioangela.quiza@uap.asia.

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