FIFTEEN young talent will be trained and taken under the wings of former Philippine Azkals team captain Chieffy Caligdong as they form part of the TM Football Para Sa Bayan scholars
Under the program presented by Globe Telecom, Caligdong scoured the country for football talent, mainly focusing on impoverished young kids and out of school youth..
After several months of lining up activities and clinics, the Barotac Nuevo Iloilo pride finally identified the 15 scholars who will be given full scholarships in different schools.
"From rugs to opportunity ang ginagawa namin dito. Kasi we wanted to discover and develop future football talents and at the same time, give these kids the chance to earn a diploma," said Caligdong.
Now retired from the national football team, Caligdong revealed how he realized athletes only have a few years of playing at a high level and that new challenges come after their playing career--- if they are not fully equipped educationally.
"Gusto kasi namin sa Football Para sa Bayan program na bigyan ng academics aspect ang aming programa. We don't just want to develop their bodies and skills, we also want to nourish their minds," he said.
"All athletes, after they retire, problema kung ano ang susunod na careerr nila. If we prepare them sa academic aspect, mas magkakaruon sila ng brighter future ahead. Football, or any other sports at that, is temporary. Education is perpetual," said the 33-year old longtime Azkals left winger.
During their soft presentation at ASCOM Football Field in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Saturday, TM presented the six young booters including Rodney Armada, Tyrone Yongot, Jerwin Cordova, and Edrian Mendoza, who all come from the 40 communities explored by Caligdong and company.
The Football Para sa Bayan scholars, aged 7 to 17, are now enrolled in various Metro Manila schools like UP, Mapua, and Philippine Women's University.
Globe external affairs head Jocel De Guzman told Spin.ph the Football Para sa Bayan program has been in existence for more than three years as part of its corporate social responsibility.
And with how it help shape the acceptance and opportunities of youth in football, considered as the number one sport in the world, the top telecom company vows to continue with the activities.
"This is already part of our annual calendar and we make sure hindi lang once a year ang aming events. We want it year round and we make sure we have events not just here in Manila but also in far flung areas of the country," said De Guzman.
"This is just one of the major sporting activities that we fervently support at Globe and we all work to achieve positive results for all those benefiting from our sports programs," he said while also mentioning Globe's support in car racing and as Philippine partner of the NBA.