Submitted by James Toga
Last year's champion Ceres-La Salle Football Club of Negros Occidental Football Association, Stallion Giligans of Iloilo FA, Capiz FA, and Negros Oriental FA are ready for the PFF-Smart National Club Championships Group F-Visayas Leg as the 3-day tournament starts off at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City on October 4, 2013.
According to Dofitas, this year’s competition has increased its participating teams from 33 last year to 46 thus, breaking the Visayas Leg into two groups. "Last year we only have the teams from NOFA, NORFA, IFA, Cebu FA and Leyte, now we have 9 with the entry of Capiz, Bohol, Calbayog and Northern Samar," he said.
The tournament format is single round-robin in Group stage with top teams advancing to the next round. "If in case there will be tie among the teams, we have a system to resolve it," Dofitas stressed.
Moreover, Dofitas explained that this year’s competition, each team is only allowed to have a maximum of 5 foreign players in their rosters with only 3 to play at a given time. "We came up with this modified format after evaluation of the previous tournament. This will also allow our local-based players to earn the opportunity to display their talents in a higher level of competition," he said.
Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella, who is also a FIFA TV and Marketing Director and a member of PFF Advisory Council, said that the tournament will allow the grassroot talents from the provinces to be exposed and be scouted by the national team. "We have lots of talents in the province who are untapped. Though some of them get the chance to play for the United Football League, most of them became warm-up players," he said.
Smart Telecommunications Sports manager Christopher Quimpo said that they have been sponsoring many sports endeavors in the country for the past several years.
"When you talk of Negros, Bacolod, Iloilo and Barotac, football is the No.1 sports. Nationwide, even in Manila and the NCR, we are very much aware that the football capital of the country is in this region," Quimpo.
On the part of Mayor Puentevella, he said that the city will be providing whatever assistance they can offer to make this tournament successful. "This is one of the agenda under my administration of bringing more people in Bacolod through sports tourism," said the local executive.
On the other hand, Provincial Sports Coordinator Angel ‘Nonong’ Verdeflor said that since Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. took his office, the provincial father has strongly urged them to give the youth all possible avenues to show their skills and talents. "The provincial government under Gov. Maranon has been very active in promoting many sports events, not only football," Verdeflor said.*
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