THE Luzon Cup Under-12 football tournament for boys kicked off Friday at the Jose V. Yap Sports and Recreational Complex in San Jose, Tarlac with 15 teams from Luzon competing with Bukidnon Football Association, the Mindanao Cup champions.
The 9-a-side tourney is spearheaded by the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) and the Central Luzon Football Association (CLFA) together with the provincial and city governments of Tarlac, the Department of Education (DepEd) Tarlac and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Vying for the title are Cordillera Region Football Association, Camarines Norte FA, Camarines Sur FA, Laguna FA, Masbate FA, Gawad Kalinga Sipag FC, Pangasinan United FC, Claret School, Central Luzon FA Tarlac, Tuguegarao City FC, One La Salle, North Luzon Central FC, Youth Football Academy Muntinlupa, Cordillera Binandang FC, Tarlac Province FC, and Bukidnon FA.
Last month, Bukidnon FA bested 16 Mindanao teams to win the Mindanao Cup crown, in a tourney hosted by NOFA and the Davao South Central Football Association.
Around 224 boys are taking part in the Luzon Cup matches, many of whom have never encountered each other in previous games.
"We are very grateful to NOFA and NOFA President Ricky Yanson for this Luzon Cup," said CLFA General Secretary Ed Flaminiano. "Biruin mo ngayon lang makakalaban ng team namin yung team na galing sa Mindanao, yung Bukidnon FA."
Marlyn Importante, director of the Gawad Kalinga Sipag FC is also thankful to the organizers for the opportunity to bring their players to the Luzon Cup.
"We appreciate the invitation. We feel that our Football program was affirmed," said Importante.
The Sipag Program of Gawad Kalinga is a values-formation endeavor of the GK community for their youth residents.
Yanson announced at the opening of the Luzon Cup that the top four teams of the NOFA Cup, Mindanao Cup and Luzon Cup will converge in Manila in 2020 for the Philippine Sports Commission Chairman's Cup to be held at the newly refurbished Rizal Memorial Stadium.