FILIPINO booters finally get the chance to pit skills against the superpower Brazilians when they compete in the inaugural football tournament of the Deloitte-Street Child World Cup in Durban, South Africa, from March 14-23.
The Philippines is drawn in Group B with Tanzania, Ukraine and Brazil, which is ranked No. 2 behind Spain by Fifa, the international governing body of football.
Entered in Group A of the 7-a-side indoor event for street children are South Africa, India, Nicaragua and the United Kingdom.
A novel feature of the tournament organized by Amos Trust is the inclusion of girls in the game. There must be at least one girl in the pitch at all times and if she scores, it will count for two points.
Though the Philippines is ranked way, way below Brazil by Fifa at 167th, the Filipino youngsters are raring to mix it up with the Brazilians for the first time ever in the international arena.
Skipper Erica Mae Inocencio will lead Team Philippines also composed of John Robert Gaerlan (defense), Ladylyn Ampe (striker), Noriel Pineones (midfield), Mario Titoy (midfield), Raymond Ilona (right wing), Jayson Simangan (defense), Roberto Orlandez, Jr. (goalie) and Lorelyn Cabanayan (striker) with Jonah Garrido and Gerry Boy Joaquino as reserves.
The players were selected from a series of ?Pinoy Futbol Festivals? organized by Ed Formoso for The Henry V. Moran Foundation since last August.
About 200 kids from centers and clubs like Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village, Nayon ng Kabataan/DSWD, Manila Boys Town Complex, Philippine Christian Foundation, Muntinlupa Social Development Center, Tondo Futkaleros, Football Club of Leveriza, Nangka-Marikina FC, Muntinlupa United FC and some teams from Gawad Kalinga were inspected and tested by the organizers during the Festival.
The first-ever RP street children team is organized and co-managed by Craig Burrows and Formoso under the auspices of The Henry V. Moran Foundation.
Major sponsors of the team are Deloitte, Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, Deutsche Bank, Mitre, Whitehouse Scientific, Amos Trust, Bayanihan National Dance Co., Tesoro?s and Amici pizza pasta.