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Why embarrass ourselves?

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has volunteered to host the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-16 Group E qualifiers in Bacolod next month but Negros Occidental Football Association president Charlie Cojuangco is wondering if this act of pretense to be gracious will only embarrass the country.

“This is a good activity but I have my reservations about the way the PFF is handling the project,” said Cojuangco.

What’s bothering Cojuangco is the PFF’s apparent lack of focus in forming a competitive national team for the tournament. “Has our national team been formed because if it hasn’t, why even volunteer to host this event unless we are prepared to be embarrassed before our own countrymen?”

Cojuangco said he’s not surprised that the PFF isn’t on top of the situation. “It’s running true to form,” he noted. “It continues to seek hosting these international tournaments without bothering to prepare and plan in advance. It grieves me to realize how we fight to host these tournaments where our own team, haphazardly formed, almost always ends up a dismal loser. Surely, we don’t want to host tournaments only to be embarrassed?”

Cojuangco stressed that there is more to lose than to gain by hosting international tournaments where in the final analysis, the home country will be the laughing stock for putting up a poorly-prepared team.

“What kind of promotions are we doing when in these tournaments, our own team performs poorly?” he asked. “We aren’t giving our people the positive football experience that will cultivate their love for this game.”

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 Cojuangco said he was informed only last week about the appointments of Negrenses Reymundo Baldava and John Carmona as members of the Philippine team coaching staff for the under-16 qualifiers. “If they were appointed only last week, how are they going to form the national team?” wondered Cojuangco. “If it has been formed before the appointments, who are the players, when was the team formed, who formed it?”

Cojuangco said he doubts if Baldava and Carmona can still conduct tryouts at this late stage. “Why volunteer to host this event when we do not even have a chance of having a good showing?” he continued. “What is the point in hosting a competition when we cannot showcase the best of what we’ve got?”

As a parting shot, Cojuangco said if the country really needs to host an international tournament to maintain its status as an active member of the world football fraternity, perhaps “we can simply play host and not field a team – that way, we spare ourselves the embarrassment.”

* * * *

Planet Sports president Anton Gonzalez is more than just professionally involved in organizing the 2009 New Balance Power Run – Raising Hope event at the Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, on Sept. 27. He’s also personally on top of making sure the cancer benefit turns out a huge success.

“This event is very special to me,” said Gonzalez. “Two people very close to me have passed away due to cancer and the decision to turn New Balance’s premier running event into a venue to raise funds for cancer awareness became even more significant because of that personal attachment.”

Gonzalez said the two were his wife Mia Nolasco’s grandfather Alfred Xerez-Burgos, Sr. who died of prostate cancer and aunt Carmencita Genato who had uterine cancer.

“Mia was very close to her grandfather whom I loved and respected,” said Gonzalez. “She was also very close to her Tita Carmencita who was like a second mother to her own mother. I also loved and respected Tita Carmencita. This year, we at New Balance thought of bringing our top running event to a different course where the love of running will transcend the love to help cancer research and foundations.”

The event will feature a three-kilometer run/walk and the usual running distances of five, 10 and 21 kilometers. Chosen as beneficiaries are Carewell (Cancer Resource and Wellness) Community, Philippine Cancer Society, ICanServe Foundation and the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation. The projects that will be supported by New Balance through the Power Run will focus on raising the level of cancer awareness and giving hope to individuals who are afflicted with cancer and their families.

Interested participants may register until Sept. 20 at the New Balance outlets in Glorietta, Shangri-La Mall, Festival Mall, Planet Sports Rockwell, Planet Sports Trinoma, Planet Sports V-Mall, Secondwind UP Diliman and Runnex Bonifacio High Street or download forms at Registration fees are P500 for the 21k, P350 for the 10k, P300 for the 5k and P250 for the 3k. The first 500 to register for the 3k run will get a New Balance Power Run-Dole T-shirt. Finisher medals await participants of the 5k, 10k and 21k runs.

Prizes for the top finishers are: for the first male and female finishers in the 21k run – P10,000 for first place, P6,000 for second and P4,000 for third and for the first male and female finishers in the 10k run – P8,000 for first place, P5,000 for second and P3,000 for third.

Backing up the project are Dr. Kelly Salvador of the Philippine Cancer Society, Bobbit Suntay and Angel Jacob of Carewell Community, Kara Alikpala and Bibeth Orteza and Rachel Alejandro of ICanServe, Akiko Thomson of the Philippine Sports Commission and broadcaster Anthony Suntay.

The New Balance Power Run – Raising Hope event is supported by Smart, Rider, 100Plus, Planet Sports, The Athletes Foot, Businessworld, Ipanema, Summit Mineral Water, Phiten, Dept. of Tourism, Dole, Hershey’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Alaska, Cyrus Logistics, Inc., Enervon Prime, Merck Sharp and Dohme, Solar Sports, K2 Interactive, Bridges, The Philippine Star, Action & Fitness Magazine, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, Wave 89.1, Jam 88.3, and Audiowav.

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