DAVAO CITY -- The 16 teams joining the inaugural Mindanao Cup got a sweet incentive after the organizer and patron Ricky Yanson Jr. announced that the champion team will get an all-expense paid ticket to the Luzon Cup set late November in Tarlac City.
“I did not announce this last night but now I am announcing it to all of you that the champion team in this competition will earn a ticket to the Luzon Cup, which is set in Tarlac in November,” he said during the opening ceremony Wednesday morning at the Tionko pitches in Barangay Matina here.
The Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) president added that he is now finalizing the schedule of the tournament and the venue with the Tarlac Football Association.
Yanson, in his speech before the players, coaches, organizers, FA officials from all over Mindanao and football parents, stressed his commitment to the "grassroots development" of the sports.
“It is our earnest wish that this Mindanao Cup will be the first of the many that NOFA has committed for the development of football not just in Negros Occidental, not just in the Visayas, but also in the entire country,’’ he said.
He also added that the foundation for a strong national team is in the grassroots development program. “In line with this, a Grassroots tournament like the Mindanao Cup enhances the experience of the young players. It improves their skills, scouts for potential national athletes, and creates a solid football community,’' he said.
Yanson also reiterated the five principles of FIFA Grassroots Football Philosophy: Football is for everyone, football can be played by everyone regardless of gender, religion, ethnic or social background, and level of fitness; football can be played everywhere, and anywhere; football is a school of life; football is also fun, and kids should be kids.
He ended his speech by thanking all the players, parents, teams, the FA’s who have joined NOFA and the Davao FA in these efforts.
All the 16 teams from Mindanao saw action Friday in the 9-aside competition for boys born 2008-2009.
The semis were held Friday morning while the championship -- the battle for third place and the awarding ceremonies slated on Friday afternoon.
Aside from the trip to Tarlac, the champion teams and other winners will win trophies and medals. (PNA)