By Ira Pedrasa
Saying there is a big potential for professional football players in the country, Real Madrid is putting up several social sports schools across the Philippines in the next few years.
Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq Fernandez de Bobadilla told abs-cbnNEWS.com he sees a strong collaboration between Spain and the country in terms of attracting more attention to the sport.
¨I know Angel Guirado, he´s a good Spanish player, who knows there might be more. We also have a Spanish trainer for (the Philippine National U-23 Football Team),¨ he said.
Earlier in a press conference, Fernandez de Bobadilla said football is becoming a ¨very important movement here…we now have to prepare the Azkals of the future.¨
This is precisely the reason why Fundacion Real Madrid, in tandem with Fundacion Mapfre, has begun implementing the first of these social sports schools in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.
The Real Madrid Foundation is a non-profit entity that represents the commitment of the Spanish football club, Real Madrid, in placing the power and strength of sport at the service of the disadvantaged.
Real Madrid is one of the leading football clubs in Europe.
Not just football
With an initial funding of 16,000 euros, both foundations have partnered with ANAKK-Santa Cruz NGO, which helps provide education and training programs for socially-vulnerable children.
Fundacion Real Madrid representative for international projects and cooperation Rosa Roncal Gimenez said the aim of this social sports school is ¨to train values in children.¨
She said football is not just about playing competitively or making money. ¨It is also a powerful tool to transmit solidarity…among the children.¨
She said this is what the club is all about, and it is about time that such values are instilled among Real Madrid´s audience.
¨What is important is they get an incentive to be better citizens, human beings. If it´s through football, then it is most welcome,¨ she added.
Filipino beneficiaries of Real Madrid’s training program.
The agreement with ANAKK-Santa Cruz, signed last Friday, is designed for 60 young beneficiaries under 14 years old who will take part in an informal educational program as well as medical care.
Gimenez said the children will be required to go to school and then play and learn football after.
She said a Spanish coach will be going to the country to teach local coaches, who in turn will transfer their knowledge to the children.
A football field is already in place, but the municipality there intends to provide land for a bigger one, she added.
Gimenez said the security situation in the country will not be a hindrance to the aim of the foundation. ¨If they need to build a wall around the field, then so be it.¨
Asked to assess the football experience in the country vis-à-vis the more popular basketball, she told abs-cbnNEWS.com, ¨the important thing is that (the local teams) have the support. We see the stadium full of people…it will generate more attention.¨
Asked if Real Madrid players will be coming here to help in the training, she only said, ¨I hope so.¨ Published in ABS-CBN News