MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 29 May) – One of the members of the Philippine team competing in the 42-country Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U14 Championship 2014 Qualifiers in Naypyidaw, Myanmar hails from this city.
Elljhone Clyde Rasonable, 13, is part of the team that won its first game with Brunei Darussalam Tuesday afternoon with a score of 4-0.
Playing under “Group E” in the eight-group tournament, the team will next tackle host team Myanmar at 6 p.m. Wednesday, then Malaysia at 9 a.m. Friday, and Vietnam at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The tournament is scheduled to end June 3.
Rasonable, taking defender position in the team, is the only one from Northern Mindanao in the 17-member team supported by the Philippine Football Federation. He is a member of the M-Kids Malaybalay football club.
He is an incoming eighth grade student at the Bukidnon National High School. His family lives in Barangay 9 here.
Elljhone’s father Claudio said his son’s interest in football bloomed lately when he joined MKids. But Claudio admitted that being a basketball player himself, he thought Elljhone would want to follow his footsteps so he brought his son with him in his games.
“Eventually, a friend convinced me to consider encouraging him to play football instead,” the elder Rasonable recalled, citing his son regularly watched football games at the Capitol grounds.
The elder Rasonable said Elljhone was not enrolled in his high school’s special program for sports because they did not expect he would be interested.
“But he caught us by surprise and we are so happy for him,” he added.
Rasonable said it was only lately when they learned that their son wanted to become a “professional football player.”
MKids won the U14 football tournament with the Bukidnon Football Association in Del Monte in 2012. They qualified to represent Bukidnon in the regional tournament in Gingoog City, where Elljhone was discovered by Eliezer Obias Faborada, a coach from the PFF.
He was then listed in a training camp for national pool members of the Philippine U14 (Boys) Team in San Carlos City in Negros Occidental last April 5 to 25.
Sarah Valderrama, MKids officer, said they welcome Rasonable’s inclusion in the national team and the group is proud that even after only three years, they were able to produce an athlete with Rasonable’s caliber.
She added that they were inspired to continue their work with the young people, especially the poor who excel and have interest in football.
But Valderrama added that even when they started, among the serious challenges of the youth who could play football is online gaming.