Recent weeks have been filled with football – not that I’m complaining :p
The British Ambassador, Stephen Lillie, blogged about the growing support for football in the Philippines, noting Payatas FC and several other links we’ve been making over the last couple of months. Exciting time for football, read here:
Yesterday started with coaching in Payatas again, the kids are improving and we’ll have games against other barangays in the coming weeks, perhaps a tournament in the coming months. Some of the kids were asking if I was an Azkal which was quite funny and cute, but obviously I want to point out I do not play football for the national team here. I have met a few of the Azkals, including the manager and coach who were all very positive about the idea of Payatas FC in my brief conversations, but unfortunately I do not have a Filipino passport and so cannot play for the national team – besides the fact that they’re far better than me haha. Here’s a quick video from the Payatas FC training where the kids had the flag we took to Bacolod and were chanting “Azkals, Payatas”. Quite cute.
Following that, we went to Maharlika to help start a team there. After having discussions beforehand, as mentioned in the last blog, we went to the barangay after training at Payatas. Maharlika is predominantly Muslim and we met at the Blue Mosque – which after getting lost for a short time we thought may have been the yellow Mosque that a security guard had directed us towards but eventually we made it to the blue one. There we met up with Benhar, who is one of the admins of the official fan page of the Azkals, with over 100,000 fans now. A lifelong fan of football he was able to play at the end when we had an exhibition game for the older kids there which he and I played in. We started the training with some basic skills, the usual circle of players passing the ball, then one person inside tackling the others, some shooting practice and then facing a defender. With over 50 kids there and an enthusiastic environment there’s some great potential and the kids loved the experience. Taking over from us will be brother Caesar who has already started on some basic kicking practices since. We look forward to playing them in the future.
On the charity side of things, each football team provides a platform for a drop-in centre and help for out-of-school youth. Many of the kids in the photo weren’t attending school and so this provides a focus to rectify that situation. Football is great fun, but I wouldn’t get involved with it on this level if it wasn’t to ultimately serve a greater cause, that of breaking the poverty cycle and really help change peoples’ lives.
So that’s the football and charity developments of the last few days. Thursday this week I had class at Uni again, the class I missed the week before because I just collapsed in my room coming back from Bacolod – and my alarm didn’t even wake me up. So I went to the class with my essay to hand in and thankfully there were no issues with that, however when I walked into the class everyone was taking an exam. Repressing urges to scream, shout and generally ask what was going on I sat down, looked at the questions and wrote for three hours. Apparently there were emails sent to the class about the exam, and of course it will have been mentioned in the class I missed the week before, but it seems I’ve not been getting those group emails for some reason… A series of unfortunate events. Wont have passed that with flying colours, of course, but hopefully did ok.
The day after went to the UP fair, which was quite good. Some very famous bands were playing, none of whom I knew. I did, however, understand one song for a while as it sampled a song by Asin which was also sampled by the Black Eyed Peas, the Apl song. Good night, though, and we ended it rock climbing on the walls. Looking back from the top of the wall at the crowd was great, good view. Jacques Palami joined me for a while too, we had a good chat and was good to see him again but he had to leave early. When I left the fair to meet him though a group of girls just started staring at meand one of them was screaming like a high school girl seeing one of the Azkals (that’s my best guess by the way as to why, maybe she thought I was an Azkal). I’d again like to point out that despite having a growing set of fans I’m not an Azkal. I’m quickly growing a fan base for being mistaken for a national Philippine footballer. Anyway, it was a good evening and got back to sleep enough for the coaching and football in Maharlika the next day.
Still got plans for Payatas v Tondo, will update next time and when we start the games against other barangays will let you all know so you can join! Payatas v Kasiglahan will probably be the first friendly match 😀 Now, I may go have a nap!