By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
It’s all about pride.
This is the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) squad’s battle cry as they face their Visayan counterparts in next week’s Philippine Football Federation (PFF)-Smart U22 Amateur Championship Regional Qualifying 2015 at the Panaad Park and Stadium.
NOFA will be hosting teams from Negros Oriental FA, Leyte FA, and Cebu FA for the November 19-21 games, with the top team advancing in next year’s national finals – still at Panaad.
The eventual national champion may represent the country in international tournaments such as the Bolkiah Cup.
On Wednesday, NOFA led by association president Ricky Yanson Jr. presented their 22-man roster for the regional qualifying in a simple gathering at the Planta Bacolod Hotel and Residences.
The John Carmona-mentored side is led by skipper Nessi Ramos of University of St. La Salle alongside Joshua Dutosme, Aoki Harunori, Usman Ilimona, Charles Barberan, John Mark Jamelo, Regie Cisneros, Kent Guevarra and Jo Warren Bedia. Joining the team are University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos’ Paolo Sanchez, Marivic Gancita and Randey Temana; and provincial champion Central Philippine State University’s Gerald Paparon, Jasper Layagon, Jordan Junco, Diomar Carusaay, Joevanie Santos, Francis Jada Polvodrido, Angelo Frayle Ledesma, Kyle Bayabos, Von Loyd Baguioro and Ashley Pamiliar.
Helping out in the coaching task are Dennis Penalosa, Jorwell Gines, Gus Rivas, and Carlo Andrew Demegillo.
Yanson shared this tournament is an opportunity for the Bacolodnons and Negrenses to show their support for the home team. “I encourage everyone to come and support our team in this tournament. Let’s show everyone how much we love this sport,” he said.
The NOFA head also stressed that the regional qualifying game’s admission is free.
Meanwhile, Carmona said he’s confident his squad is at par with other teams.
Winner of the Visayas qualifying will join the top 3 teams from Mindanao and 4 others from Luzon to complete the 8 teams for the national finals on January 16-21, 2016 at the Panaad pitch.
Subsidies for food and accommodation of players are provided by PFF, revealed NOFA Gen-Sec Ronald Allan Treyes./