Nestor Ramirez, one of the coaches of the Kamagayan teams, said in a Facebook post that the tournament uplifted the spirits of the children.
“Grabe kaayo ang epekto sa ilang experience sa mga bata (Experience had a big impact on the kids). It was very emotional for them and the barangay because as they set foot in the barangay, the children went around the small alleys chanting about their win. They considered themselves as already champions considering their well-equipped opponents. They could not ask for something more and they are more determined to take football more seriously. Salamat kaayo ninyo mga (thank you to the) organizers for giving them a chance,” said Ramirez on the Facebook post.
Kamagayan Team B finished as runner-up to Giuseppe Football Club (GFC) in the Mixed 9 category, 0-3, of the Sama Sama Division after losing in the penalty shootout.
Despite not getting the title, Ramirez said their players were already very proud because they were able to go up against opponents such as GFC, whose players wore branded football boots compared to his wards, who wore studs which were bought in “ukay-ukay” or thrift stores.
“Having reached the finals and ended up first runner-up against their idol team, Giusseppe Football Club, has already made the children of Kamagayan celebrate as if they won the title because the original purpose of the team is just to provide diversion activity to the children of the barangay. Having been exposed to other children who are more blest than them and reaching the finals is already a big deal to them who are still sporting spike and futsal football shoes from the ukay-ukay and repaired for free by members of Pundok Kadasig,” said Ramirez.
The children who made up Kamagayan are children of the barangay’s less privileged families.
The futsal tournament served as the culmination of the 4-day sports and educational festival spearheaded by FundLife International with the theme of “We Are All One” and advocating for greater inclusivity and opportunity for all, especially girls, through play.
The tournament had no registration fee and encourage the participation of community-based teams as well as teams from the public schools to play against privileged teams, to give them a chance to get to know each other through the sport of futsal and football.
Another thing that the Kamagayan team experienced from the event was the chance to coach as their older players were given time to coach their younger teams.
(This article was written by Mars Alison and first published at Cebu Daily News.)