THE search for the next homegrown Filipino football star continues as Globe and TM have launched on Wednesday the third edition of “Football Para sa Bayan,” a grassroots development program for underprivileged kids nationwide.
Recently retired Azkals captain and current Globe ambassador Chieffy Caligdong leads the year-long program that kicks off its third year with a football festival highlighted by a 7-a-side tournament in his native Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo this weekend.
The youth program tries to keep fulfilling its objective to be a platform where marginalized youth not only can have the opportunity to harness their potential in the sport, but also use it as a way to get out of poverty.
“Nagbigay sa akin ng magandang buhay ang football,” said Caligdong, one of the best homegrown players the country has ever produced. “So kailangan ipaintindi natin sa mga bata ang magandang mensahe kung anong makukuha mo sa pagiging football player.”
“Kung ano yung natutunan ko and ano yung mabilis na paraan na matuto yung bata, ‘yun yung gusto kong matutunan ng mga bata, not only inside the pitch, but outside,” added the former national team mainstay, who has gone into coaching, but still struts his wares in the club level for Green Archers United.
The program, which has helped over 5,000 children since 2013, is consists of clinics, street football leagues, and mentoring sessions in barangays, aside from festivals to be held in the cities of Davao and Dumaguete apart from Iloilo, as well as in the provinces of Palawan and Capiz.
“The next Chieffy Caligdong will sprout around the corner in the next few years,” Globe corporate social responsibility director Bong Esguerra said, adding the telecommunications giant has allocated a budget of more than P1 million for the program this year.
“We want to grow this initiative further not only by honing their skills and increasing the level of play even at a very young age, but also helping pave the way for them to become productive and responsible citizens of the country,” TM portfolio and brand management director Trina Sebastian said.