Team Philippines has selected 16 candidates from around the country to compose the team that will play in the Street Child World Cup 2018 to be held in May in Moscow, Russia.
The teenage female footballers were selected after four months of scouting in Metro Manila, Cebu, Kalibo, Iloilo and Davao.
“This is why it really is Team Philippines. [We picked] not just our players from Payatas but also kids from some great organizations around the country,” team manager and Fairplay For All founder Roy Moore told The Manila Times.
“We feel they’re already a strong group and with a push we should challenge to win the whole thing,” added Moore.
The candidates will undergo one-month training camp in April. After the camp, nine players will be chosen to represent the country in the third installment of the event that kicks off ahead of the FIFA World Cup.
“We’re really looking forward to the training camp and seeing the girls improve and work together,” said Moore.
Ronalyn Lagata, 20, is the head coach of the Nivea-backed Filipino delegation. Lagata, a product of Payatas FC, played in the previous edition of the Street Child World Cup back in 2014 in Brazil, wherein the Philippines notched a runner-up finish.
Moore said the management and the coaching staff are confident that the players will develop not just skills but their character as well.
“We’re very optimistic this team will have fun, get better, and show that on and off the pitch,” he said.
The Street Child World Cup assembles over two hundred street children from 24 countries. Besides the football tournament, a festival of arts and a congress about the rights of street children will be held in conjunction with the games.
First held on March 2010 in Durban, South Africa, the quadrennial event is aimed at changing the negative perception and treatment of street-connected children around the world.