City wide grassroots football tournament set

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/9 Aug) – Following the successful third leg of the Kasibulan Football Grassroots Festival here, the Butuan-Agusan del Norte Football Association (BANFA) is now planning to bring the event in a much bigger stage in a city-wide football tournament slated between late October and early November this year.

A total of 512 children and 60 teachers from different mountainous rural barangays participated in the third leg of the Kasibulan Football Grassroots Festival which culminated last Sunday as the BANFA brought the three-day event to Barangay Maguinda.

The football program, which aims to train children from 6 to 12 years old, was launched here last April 29. Dubbed as the Kasibulan Project, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) initiated the project nationwide in partnership with different football associations aiming to further popularize and make football a mainstream sports nationwide.

“This is the very first time that such football training program is brought to a far-flung rural barangay. Truly this is what grassroots is all about; majority of these children have never experienced or even seen how football is played. We are bringing the experience of the game of football to the doorsteps of the rural kids,” said Butuan Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun, who is also the chairman of BANFA.

Fortun expressed how thankful he is for the success of the first three legs that gained an overall participation of more than 1,500 children.

“This is a follow-through to the series of grassroots development coaching course and festival we held. It’s an opportunity for coaches to apply their knowledge and skills and for children to participate in a friendly competition to further encourage their passion for the sport and hone their skills in the process,” said Fortun.

The fourth leg of the program, which is set on August 24-26, is expected to draw more participants and an added set is planned to accommodate another rural barangay training after request poured in requesting BANFA to hold one in Barangay Tungao.

The planned city-wide Grassroots Football Festival will have tournament categories for children aged 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12. The organizers are expecting more than 1,000 players attending the event. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)