2 Azkals to lead grassroots program

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Former Azkals team captain Chieffy Caligdong (far left) and goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma (far right) with the Little Azkals during the 2015 edition of Football For A Better Life event in Dumaguete City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Former Azkals team captain Chieffy Caligdong (far left) and goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma (far right) with the Little Azkals during the 2015 edition of Football For A Better Life event in Dumaguete City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Azkals Simone Rota and Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong will be leading the cast of coaches in the Dumaguete City leg of Football For a Better Life (FFABL) grassroots program at the Rusi Open Field in Daro, Negros Oriental from August 20 to 21.

FFABL, which is an initiative of insurance brand Pru Life UK together with Spears Activation, is a six-month nationwide football program that aims to promote the sport in the far-flung areas of the country.

After its successful edition in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental earlier this month, FFABL goes to the Visayas region.

According to Percy Guarin, president of the Cagayan-Misamis Oriental Football Association, such events encourage young people to play football.


“FFABL festivals which have been going around the country for the past three years in partnership with Azkals, play a very significant role in the promotion of football in the countryside,” he told The Manila Times.

The veteran football organizer said that including national team standouts such as Rota and Caligdong gives aspiring booters a chance to experience high quality football training.

“Seeing them playing with them during the football clinic which highlights every FFABL event is a dream come true for every football player young and old alike. A dream is then sowed in every grassroots football player’s heart,” Guarin said.

Current Azkals defender Rota and former national team skipper Caligdong will be leading the training together with ex-Loyola Meralco Sparks FC striker Graham Caygill.

Hometown hero Ref Cuaresma, a former goalkeeper of the Azkals and a product of the Negros Oriental-Siquijor Regional Football Association, will also serve as one of the coaches in the camp.

The participants, from the 85 teams in the region will be segregated according to age groups from the Under-8 category all the way to the Under-17 bracket.

Besides teaching technical drills, the two-day football festival features a mini tournament for the youth and a Men’s Open contest.

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