FOR three days this May, the white sands of Boracay will host a unique football tournament to prove that "we are all one."
From May 9 to 11, the Inaugural Sama-Sama Games are set to host players from all walks of life — from college students to street kids in Tondo to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan - in an open-for-all beach football tournament.
The games aims to promote equal opportunity for all through football, according to Sama-Sama co-founder Marco Kasic.
Kasic, a native of Croatia who was raised in the United Kingdom, is the director of FundLife International who believes football can be used as a “powerful force“ that can unite people.
Celebrating unity through diversity, the event will gather players from all over the world to share their love for football and their desire to eliminate division and foster harmony through equality.
“We have made it our responsibility to help improve educational opportunity and employability of young people, especially those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds ... We hope to empower and inspire our youths to pursue their dreams and strengthen the care and share spirit among our employees,” said Nurhayati Abdullah, country manager of DHL Express Philippines, one of the major supporters of the event.
Asia Zest is also flying the community teams from some of the country’s poorest areas to Boracay while Puma is donating 160 jerseys for the players.
One of the teams seeing action is the Tondo Futkals, which is an effort by Peter Amores to provide football as a means to get kids out of the streets and to prove that they can become very good 'futkaleros' who can compete against any team.
“We're excited to work alongside values-driven partners to offer young people a transformational experience in the world’s first 100% socially inclusive football tournament. Through this event, we hope to change the lives of the poorest communities living under extreme social inequality," Kasic said.
New Azkals coach Thomas Dooley, who attended the media conference at the Manila Peninsula, lauded the Sama-Sama Games.
“ I definitely want to be part of something likes this... although basketball is important here, football is a sport in the Philippines where kids can have a great future," Dooley, who skippered the US team in the World Cup, said.
"Not everybody can be six foot two, it’s not about being tall but what kind of skills you have and it is the best teamsport for players - you have to have teamwork and discipline.“