On July 25, 2023, Sarina Bolden headed in a goal that changed Philippine football, one that lead to another first, malls in the country showing a live football match involving the Philippine team.
That has never happened in my over two decades of covering Philippine football. So many things have changed in the two weeks of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
But some things haven’t and I hope the PFF will address this. Majority of the girls who were inspired by the Filipinas’ run will have no access to a football field.
Lucky are those who live in the cities and who have relatives who play the game since they will learn from them where they can play football. The same can’t be said for the rest.
Football in the country has an elitist image, not because of the expensive shoes and balls needed but because access to a pitch is limited to a few.
Here’s where the PFF should step in. They have committees for the grassroots and youth teams and I know they try their hardest to make the game popular, but I hope the PFF, or the next president, will consider creating a committee whose sole job is to make the game accessible.
The sole job of the committee is to find spaces in the country where they can introduce football. Forget the techniques or what not, just introduce the game.
For starters, they can work with Spanish-era towns, which usually have a plaza in between the Municipal Hall and the Church.
LEAH CORONEL. One Leah Coronel wrote to SunStar Cebu to say that she thinks the women’s football team doesn’t deserve to be called Filipinos because only one of them is a homegrown player.
I’ve promised not to entertain such misguided notions but I have to write this because the paper carried it. Coronel was write in calling herself a crab but I’d like to add misguided and misinformed along with her self-description.
I have several nephews and nieces born and raised abroad and their parents–close families and relatives–make sure they grow up to FIlipino values.
They are Filipinos. Coronel says it would have helped had the team members had Filipino-sounding names and comparing them to the previous Miss U winners, she said she doesn’t know many Wurtzbachs or Grays in Cebu.
She is wrong of course. Most Filipino families have a Wurtzbach or a Gray. We take pride that there’s a Filipino in every corner of the world, should we stop considering that Pinoy a Filipino if he or she raises a family in that corner of the world?
And her praise of Annicka is even misguided, saying “She is a product of De La Salle University, however she now plays for the Mount Druit Rangers in Australia. However? That’s like belittling the nurses who studied in the Philippines and now work abroad.
Miss Coronel, it’s not too late to remove your biases and widen your mindset. You saying you don’t consider the Filipinas to be Filipinos because they have foreign-sounding surnames is like saying we shouldn’t take your opinion seriously because you call football soccer.
Again, as I kept harping, we can’t be proud to be an economy boosted by OFWs yet discriminate against the families of OFWs.