The second season of the grassroots indoor football tournament Ambassadors Cup ended with Team South Africa boasting of a back-to-back championship in the Under-11 category and the best futsal players cited at the tournament’s conclusion at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).
San Ildefonso Parish, under the Embassy of South Africa, proved to be the team to beat when they drew 3-0 on the scoreboard against Mexico (Immaculate Conception Cathedral Soup Kitchen), with Canada (Gawad Kalinga Sampaloc II) copping the third place finish. Timor Leste (Dream Big Pilipinas) ruled the Under-13 division, beating former champion GK Tatalon (under new entrant Germany) at 5-0, leaving Mexico (ICC Soup Kitchen) on the third spot.
“Our interest in football goes much beyond physical fitness, sport, entertainment . . . UA&P has a magnificent obsession with the beautiful game because it is one sport that nurtures character, virtues, values,” UA&P co-founder and football aficionado Dr. Bernardo Villegas said.
The Ambassadors Cup Futsal Tournament, a project of UA&P, aims to instill virtues and values among children from underprivileged communities through futsal training and competition. This year’s cup had the Embassies of Chile, Argentina, Timor Leste, Spain, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Germany, Canada, Mexico, United States, South Africa, and guest team ANZ Pilipinas partnered with the communities of San Idelfonso Parish, Gawad Kalinga (GK) Tatalon, GK Pinagsama, GK Barangka, GK Sampaloc II, Western Bicutan Football Club, GK Concepcion, Immaculate Conception Cathedral Soup Kitchen, Birhen ng Lujan Parish, Fundacion Santiago, and football team Dream Big Pilipinas.
“It is energizing to see children run, kick, tumble, work, and laugh,” said UA&P president Dr. Jose Maria Mariano. “We hope we have really helped them become better persons.”
Awaiting the little players who not only played well but showed sportsmanship and fighting spirit was the recognition of the mythical five. Getting a medal each from U-11 were Reymuel Capilos (ICC Soup Kitchen), Russel Agnes (GK Tatalon), Lorenz Padre (San Ildefonso Parish), Reach Nival (GK Sampaloc II), and Cian Gabriel Galsim (GK Barangka). Recognized as the best players from U-13 were Kyle Gilan (Dream Big Pilipinas), Hanz Gabriel Alvarez (GK Tatalon), John Mark Silvosa (San Ildefonso Parish), Graham Eugenio (ICC Soup Kitchen), and Justin Arenas (Fundacion Santiago).
“Hopefully, next year, we will go out of Metro Manila and have a lot of other teams so that we can have what economists call inclusive growth,” Dr. Villegas added, praising the players from Batangas and citing the possible inclusion of Tacloban players in next year’s cup.
The second season of the envoy’s cup was jointly organized with Team Socceroo Football Club and The Henry V. Moran Foundation.