The grassroots development program of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) received its second award from the Asian Football Federation in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
The PFF Kasibulan program, which is a project made in cooperation with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), received the President’s Recognition Award for Grassroots Football for Developing Nations.
The Philippines, together with Hong Kong and Vietnam are in the category for emerging football countries.
The Philippines won the same trophy when it hosted the same awards night in Manila in 2014.
“The award signifies that our grassroots program is one of the best in Asia and we must continue to make it grow in the country through new players and new stakeholders,” PFF grassroots department head Ake Pastoral told The Manila Times.
He added that he is pleased that the country’s program was once again recognized but reiterated that there is still room for improvement.
“To have been nominated and won twice means we are consistent with our programs. We just need the grassroots program to become self-sustaining. The PFF can only do so much as an institution we need more stakeholders and more volunteers in the local communities to run the grassroots programs,” he said.
Pastoral said that the recognition would serve as an extra motivation and challenge to take Kasibulan to a higher level of success.
He also emphasized the importance of partners and sponsors in the success of a grassroots development program especially in the remote provinces of the country.
“We are thankful for the support of PAGCOR, Japan Football Association, Smart Telecommunications and PHILAM, who have been our partners in the 2016 Kasibulan grassroots football development program,” Pastoral said.
Kasibulan’s 44 training sessions in 2016, conducted by 2,417 coaches trained by the federation, were attended by 13,745 youth participants.
Pastoral stressed that promoting football to the youth is the key to sustaining the progress of the sport.
“Grassroots is long term and must be seen in many parts of the country. We must be patient and continue the work with our grassroots players.”
He added that more support is needed to widen the reach of the Kasibulan program.
“We need more partners to support the program. Football needs more volunteers to work on the grassroots level, if we can be self-sustaining we can create a strong base for our national teams,” he concluded.