Davao to host Asian football tourney

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 Jan) – A homegrown sports organization is planning to hold the first Asian Freestyle Football Championship in Davao City sometime October to November 2016 in a bid to expose more young athletes into a new sports discipline.

Speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City, Maharlika Sports Development Institute Inc. executive director Edgar Allan Te told reporters that they are looking at gathering around 100 participants coming from 15 countries in Asia to compete in the championship round.

“We want athletes from other countries to come to Davao City through sports,” he said.

They are currently finalizing details with the organizers, the World Freestyle Federation (WFF), whose representatives from Ireland are in the city to look for a venue and promote the sports among the Dabawenyos.

Dan Wood, founder and president of WFF, said that the competition is open to all interested participants, be they male or female, and with or without the skills because this sport is an exhibition that allows self-expression with football through joggling and dancing.

“It can help in developing your skills and confidence that you can apply in life… Freestyle is absolutely everyone,” he said.

“No teachers had taught them how they play,” he said.

He explained that participants compete individually, and thus enhance their uniqueness, creativity, and self-confidence.

“It’s an individual style on the ball, so creativity can flourish,” Wood said.

Nguyen Hoai Nam, general secretary of Asian Freestyle Football Federation, who went from being a participant in competitions in Europe, then a judge, and finally an organizer, said that they decided to bring the sports to the Philippines because they want to make the sports known to Asia and the world.

“We though that a platform is needed to kickstart everything. We gotta start somewhere,” Nam said.

His group has already introduced the sports in Hanoi in Vietnam with 30 participants, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia with 60 participants, and Jakarta in Indonesia with over 100 participants.

Maharlika Sports has been involved in futsal and football movement in the city where they target the out-of-school-youth as participants in the recent years.

Te added that it was only last year that they decided to make freestyle football as a major component of the programs they are supporting.

He said initial plan is to hold championship game at the SM Lanang Premier.