Ahead of Payatas FC’s 4th year anniversary, which coincides with the one year anniversary for Team Philippines in the Street Child World Cup, support for Payatas Football Club was once again on full show.
For those who don’t know about Payatas FC, we’re a team made of kids living at the foot of the Payatas dumpsite. Many oft he players are jumper kids, scavengers, or work in other ways. Coming to our 4th year we’ve won over 20 trophies now, showing how skillful the players can be with the right opportunity. Check out FIFA Futbol Mundial’s feature on the charity here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i80YJ-hDdyA
So, In the same week, UFL rivals Global and Kaya both invited the team for events and so while they may be rivals on the points – sometimes the most bitter of rivals following Kaya’s 2-0 win over Global – off the pitch the two are always supporting good causes themselves.
Payatas FC Compete in 3v3 Warren and Brown Tournament
Last weekend Payatas FC joined Kaya’s 3v3 tournament at the Emperador Stadium. It was a fun event as teams from Gawad Kalinga, Tondo, Dream Big Pilipinas, Payatas, and similar community teams battled Kaya, Loyola, and other academies.
I say battled, but it was one of the friendliest tournaments I’ve been part of and that’s largely because everyone knew each other. Perhaps the best example of that is with the Bootcamp U11 Champions, who were made up of the Celdran twins and Marcos, one of our players in Payatas. The Celdrans are a lovely family who have been big supporters of FFA, but due to a problem the third player in their team couldn’t make it and so after brief negotiations, Bootcamp signed Marcos on loan. Terms included a hug, and a smile. For us it was good because with 4 players in one of our teams it meant our sub would start instead and get more playing time. Incidentally the boys (right) won their age group.
And that’s what youth development is about, friends and fun. Chris Greatwich, who organized the tournament with Miji and others, said “The 3v3 format is really good for the Philippines [because] it’s difficult to get full size pitches… [it] encourages as many touches as possible, in an environment where [players] are free to express themselves.”
Speaking more generally of the Kaya Academy, he said “Everything is [going really well], it’s very busy with the upcoming UFL Youth League. We had 170 kids at the tryouts.” And he was quick to thank sponsors, Warren and Brown, of course. Neil Domelow, of W&B, himself recalled how his own sons have played football for a long time, and through this he was introduced to the UFL scene. “Since my boys were involved in Kaya we got more and more involved [too]”. He spoke of their “obvious interest in the sport as a company, seeing the opportunity with [Kaya], seeing what they do with less fortunate kids”.
For him, “as long as the business remains profitable we’ll put more into the sport” which bodes well with more and more companies starting to get involved in Philippine football too.
Payatas FC Cheer on Global in AFC Cup
Earlier in the week, then, Payatas FC were very kindly invited to watch to Global in the AFC Cup. Global and the Palami family in general have been supporters of FFA for a long time and they have been a huge help to us over the years.
Here, the older players at Payatas FC were able to go from their friendly games against OPES near Fairview in the morning to the Rizal Memorial Stadium to watch the first match for any Philippine club in the AFC Cup Group Stage. It was an action packed day of football.
As it happened, Global were of course beaten, but as I posted on Facebook after the game I think the 6-1 scoreline flattered South China a bit. The team from Hong Kong scored their first three decent chances and that killed the game.
South China certainly deserved the win, of course, so we hope Global can ride a quick learning curve to improve in their next match against Pahang of Malaysia.
And it was great to see most of the football community come together to support Global for the night. Ryan Fenix wrote a good piece about that here, http://www.interaksyon.com/interaktv/rampaging-fullback-football-fans-should-set-aside-club-loyalties-even-just-for-one-night, noting the historical and nationalistic reasons there. From another angle, you can also say it’s in everyone’s best interests. If Global (and Ceres in the playoffs) do well in the AFC Cup this year, and whoever qualifies next year too, then it contributes to raising the ranking of the country (coefficient) to get more slots in continental competition.
So hopefully we can see an even bigger support for the team in their next game too. It’s great to set rivalries aside for the night as we support the Philippines’ representatives in the competition, and it truly is in the best interests of Philippine football as a whole.
Fairplay for All Foundation Goals
The next steps for FFA, though, are also exciting. Support from a wide spectrum of teams, companies, and individuals, has meant that FFA has at least doubled every year since it was founded by Naomi Tomlinson and myself. And for 2015 there are some great plans too. These announcements will be made first at the anniversary on Sunday, March 15, in Payatas, and then will be shared.
And while we’re primarily known for football in the Philippines, these announcements go far beyond the beautiful game. As FFA works in education, nutrition, livelihood, and other areas to holistically and sustainably break the cycle of poverty, look out for the exciting news over the next two weeks, and see how you can be part of the team.