The FC Azukals will represent Negros Oriental among the regional qualifiers of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club championship tournament, to be held in Bacolod City next month.
The Azukals bested nine other football clubs and school teams to win the 4 th Silliman Football Club tournament held in line with the 112 th SU Founders' Day celebration in Dumaguete City recently. This earned them the right to represent Negros Oriental to the PFF-Smart tournament, that will include four regional qualifiers in Luzon, two in the Visayas, and four in Mindanao.
Team manager James Ronan Palubio yesterday said it is an honor to represent the province to one of two regional qualifiers in the Visayas, that will be held October 4 to 6 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Azukals will be pitted against teams from Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Capiz. Regional qualifier champions will then advance to the top 10 brackets elimination and onwards to the championship game.
Palubio said the club, that was organized last year, is preparing for the regional qualifiers and the players have to work double time as they will be facing tough competition during the regional qualifying leg.
Its chaplain, Fr. Christian Benjamin of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said the brotherhood, trust and friendship developed among the players, who, while of different ages, have found a common ground which is their faith. “The team's accomplishments are attributed to the Almighty,” he added.
Meanwhile, the club sought financial assistance from the provincial government for their month-long training, uniforms and other expenses not covered by the event organizers.
Palubio said PFF and Smart will only pay for travel, meals and the accommodation of the competing teams.
The Azukals also asked Gov. Roel Degamo to allow them the free use of the Perdices Coliseum football field as practice venue in preparation for the regional qualifier tournament.*JFP
Visayan Daily Star