Ambassadors Cup 2014

Nothing beats the sight of Pinoy kids rejoicing as their fellow football players in Team South Africa and Team Indonesia hammered the win home on May 10 in the championship rounds of the Ambassadors Cup Futsal Games organized by the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Declared as champion in the 11-under age division was Team South Africa (San Ildefonso Parish), which defeated first runner-up Timor Leste (Brgy. Marikina Heights) at 4-2. Teams Nigeria (GK Barangka) and Argentina (Birhen ng Lujan Parish) brought home the second and third runner-up titles, respectively.

Team Indonesia (GK Tatalon), 10 of whose members lost their homes in a fire three weeks previously, secured the top spot in the 13-under division at the expense of first runner-up Team USA (Western Bicutan Football Club), scoring 3-0. South Korea (GK Concepcion) and United Kingdom (GK Pinagsama) were awarded second and third runners-up.

Participating in this mini World Cup were 11 embassy-supported teams from underprivileged communities in Metro Manila. Clad in the colors of their sponsor embassy, Filipino children aged 7-13 years old represented Argentina, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Timor Leste, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Another team represented the Philippines.

Present in the games were their Excellencies Agnes Nyamande-Pitso of South Africa, Juvêncio de Jesus Martins of Timor Leste, Julio Camarena of Mexico, and Neil Reeder of Canada.

UA&P President Dr. Jose Maria Mariano thanked the event sponsors and partners, who “fired up the competition” and “stirred [UA&P] with the vision that futsal can teach children to desire and strive for a better life.” He thanked the children’s parents for their support and encouraged the children to always do their best. “Sana, kahit wala nang coach o ambassador na nakatingin sa inyo ay lagi pa rin kayong disiplinado. At sana sa inyong paglaki ay maaalala ninyo ang Ambassadors Cup at gugustuhin din ninyo na tumulong sa ibang tao,” he addressed the children.

The Ambassadors Cup futsal teams were assisted in their training by professional coaches from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), in collaboration with the Ambassadors Cup Task Force. The Task Force consists of UA&P officials, faculty, and alumni working closely with The Henry V. Moran Foundation, the PFF, and Team Socceroo Football Club.

UA&P launched the Ambassadors Cup to reach out to children from underprivileged communities and foster in them a love for virtues and values, taking inspiration from the embassies of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, which made contact with local communities and supported children’s futsal training starting late 2012.

The games were held simultaneously at the UA&P Multi-Purpose Court and the nearing-to-completion UA&P Parking and Sports Building, dubbed as the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ by Ambassadors Cup Task Force head and literature faculty member Leon Peckson. The tournament drew a crowd of around 350 children, coaches, parents, members of the diplomatic corps, and UA&P student volunteers and staff.

Text by Liza Alvarado.