Monday, December 09, 2013

Fair Play: Let's rally around the Malditas

THERE may be no men’s football team in the Southeast Asian Games but that doesn’t mean Philippine football isn’t represented in Myanmar.

Tomorrow, the women’s team, led by Coach Ernie Nierras of the Stallion, will be taking on the dangerous Myanmar side for their first game in Group B and saying the Malditas team will be in a tough campaign would be an understatement.

Unlike in men’s football--though the Seag is U23 version--where Southeast Asia’s top teams can barely crack the top 10 in Asia, in the women’s side, Southeast Asian teams are one of the best in Asia. Vietnam is at no 6 in Asia and No. 28 worldwide, while Thailand is at No. 7 in the continent and at No. 31 worldwide.

Myanmar? It is ninth in Asia and No. 43 in the world, while the Philippines is at its best of 16th in Asia and 75th in the world.

And in this year’s Southeast Asian Games, the country’s first appearance in women’s football since 2005, the Malditas will have to deal with Myanmar and Vietnam and the relatively lightweight Indonesia, which, according to the Fifa rankings has been inactive for 18 months.

Thailand, the other contender, has it easy, and will only need to face Laos (No. 18, 77) and Malaysia (No. 19 and No. 79) in the group stage.

Of course, it would have been better had the Philippines gotten an easy group but, as coach Ernie has said it, to get to the top you have to beat the top teams.

Based on their campaign in the AFC Cup qualifiers, where the Philippines beat Iran, 6-0, and Bangladesh, 4-0, and narrowly lost to Thailand, 1-0, the Malditas have more than a decent chance to land a medal, the primary criteria of the PSC and POC in fielding teams in the SEA Games.

For this year, the team has tapped Patrice Impelido, Cat Barnekow, Sarah Cook, Morgan Brown, Katherine Lim, Alexa Diaz, Sam Nierras, Marisa Park, Monika Lee, Rachels, Raylene Larot, Megan Jurado, Natasha Alquiros, Chalise Baysa, Aisa Mondero, Joana Houplin, Christine delos Reyes, Jesse Shugg and goalkeepers Maria dela Cruz and Patricia Dull.

BANGON VISAYAS CUP. Last week, Tanya Chica and Limar Baunsit successfully organized the Bangon Visayas Cup at the Cebu International School, gathering an impressive 28 teams for the men’s and women’s inter-company tournament.

Tanya, who celebrated her birthday that day, said it was like celebrating her birthday with 130 families, as that was the target of their fund-raising campaign.

Nope, they just didn’t raise funds for the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Northern Cebu, Tanya and Limar, who a few days later would play for Cebu Queen City against powerhouse Global FC in the Smart Cup, will be providing building kits for 130 families.

“I knew that the footballers wanted to help and I felt that they just needed the opportunity. I recalled how high the participation was in the past charity events that Ipang baunsit organized and I was convinced that if I just gave the footballers a good venue and enough time, the response would just be as high and perhaps even higher,” she said.

And instead of using the funds raised to buy relief goods, Tanya consulted with those who were in the ground operations to ask what was really needed.

“I decided to use the funds for building tools because I figured that by the time we had the funds, it would be a good 3 weeks from the typhoon, the survivors would’ve focused their efforts on rebuilding their lives, their homes. I consulted with various organizations who were on ground with the relief operations and they confirmed the same thing,” she said.

For the men’s division, which attracted 20 teams, Leylam A beat Leylam B for the crown, while Makoto FC got third place over Erco. In the women’s divison, Lexmark beat Convergys FC for the title, while Accenture got third place over Survey Sampling.

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