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Health And Family

Let the girls play

Kathy Moran - The Philippine Star
Let the girls play
The “Pinay 5” Philippine National Women’s Futsal Team celebrating their 3-1 victory against Guam at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium: (back row) Mary Joy Dela Cruz, Kristy Laida Malikol, Princess Lyn Cristobas, Aurea Coleen Reaso, Jada Louise Bicierro, Allyxa Ann Lucero, Catherine Calatine, Ma. Annarie Paculan, Victor Hermans and Jhayson Turco; (front row) Precious Ann Casapao, Jacqueline Ballares, Kaycee Nañola, Shella Mae Alcantara, Kayla Santiago, Mykaela Abeto, Trisha Danielle Advincula, Sheila Fabian, Hannah Marie Muros, Jenny Perez, Jamielyn Nañez and Jonalyn Lucban
Photo by Bert Magbago, Futsal Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Futsal, or a 5-a-side, small-sided variant of football, is rapidly growing throughout the country.

“Futsal is a key part of the Philippine Football Federation’s (PFF) development agenda.  There are so many basketball courts around the country where futsal is played,” says Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta. “These playing facilities in schools where kids can play during the rainy season have been the reason that futsal around the country has grown in the last few years through the efforts we have made together with our partners in both the public and private sector.”

The PFF collaborates with private-sector organizations like the MVP Sports Foundation and the Henry V. Moran Foundation (HVMF) that invest towards the sport in what is a bottom’s-up approach to development. The PFF likewise works with public-sector organizations like the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Department of Education (DepEd), which organize nationwide competitions for futsal, and where futsal is the main mode of football-related competition for girls.

“With the support of the MVP Sports Foundation, the Moran Foundation works in close collaboration with the PFF, and we have made it a priority to develop futsal from the ground up,” says Danny Moran, chairman of the Moran Foundation. “In our Liga Eskwela Futsal Program, we started with DepEd regional offices in 2015 to train public school teachers to coach futsal and guide them in to form teams in public schools and to participate in grassroots futsal tournaments that we organize in collaboration with PFF’s member associations.”

Girls kick to the top

In 2022, the PFF took a step forward to build on this base by securing Dutch futsal coach Vic Hermans as its technical consultant and national team coach. Under the guidance of Hermans, who has developed futsal coaches across the world with FIFA for more than 20 years, the PFF organized futsal development courses for local coaches and local administrators.

Hermans also spearheaded organizing a women’s futsal league, from which he identified a pool of 30 girls for the women’s national futsal team.  After training for two months, 15 girls from local clubs, public schools, and non-profit foundations formed the women’s national futsal team, nicknamed the “Pinay 5.”

The PFF, together with the PSC, the MVP Sports Foundation and the Moran Foundation, organized the first two international futsal friendlies ever hosted in the country by facing against the Guam Women’s National Futsal team in an event dubbed the “Pinay 5 Futsal Face-off.”

In the first game, the Philippines lost 0-1 to the visitors, but avenged their first loss with a 3-1 victory against Guam.

“We actually dominated both games against Guam, and the statistics show this in the number of shots and the vast majority of possession we had in both games versus our opponents,” said Hermans, the FIFA futsal expert who has mentored the Thailand, Netherlands, and Iran’s men’s national futsal teams. “We intentionally selected a very young group with an average age of 18 years old since we are focused on long-term development and preparing for the future in the hopes of doing well in future SEA Games and AFC competitions. This is just the start, as I feel strongly that futsal is a good sport for the country and that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the massive potential I feel Filipinos have in this sport. ”

FUTSAL

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