Pages: Thirsty for football? It’s the 10th Thirsty Cup-A A +A
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
MY YOUNGER brother Charlie —the architect of our family’s restaurant business that includes Mooon Cafe and Lantaw Native Restaurant (floating in Cordova and overlooking from Busay)—is not only a successful entrepreneur but also a sportsman.
One project that Charlie started a decade ago has become fruitful: the Thirsty Cup. This weekend, when the 10th Thirsty Cup kicks off, a record 349 teams will join -- thanks to the man I call “Bro.”
I asked Neil Montesclaros, who’s helped organize this event since Day One, to write about the brief history and impact of this soccer festival.
Here’s Neil Montesclaros:
“Filipinos jumped from their seats when Chiefy Caligdong scored the goal as the Azkals defeated Vietnam in the 2012 Suzuki Cup. It gave hope. Just imagine the thunderous jubilation if that victory was played in Philippine soil. It would appear that next to Pacman’s fight, the Philippines will always eagerly anticipate the next Azkal fixture.
Football has a found a home in Filipino hearts.
“While many of us football aficionados have envisioned this since childhood, it wasn’t visible on the horizon 10 years back. Back in 2002, tournaments were scarce in Cebu.
Besides the Aboitiz Cup, there was no other big football event. Furthermore, although there was the Cesafi, Milo, and Palarong Pambansa, it catered only to school-based teams; it was very formal and structured. The start-up enthusiasts and recreational believers of football had no venue to challenge their skills. Lastly, there were limited age divisions. Football was not that popular.
“Thirsty Juices and Drinks was looking for something new and with potential. With the company’s drive for health and fitness, it had to be a sports event.
“Don Bosco Alumni Football Club was eager to help organize football events in Cebu.
In 2003, the 1st Thirsty Football Festival was born. It was one of a kind. It caters to a lot of age groups. It finishes in one weekend. It was a celebration of football. A spark was kindled.
“Ten years have passed. The Thirsty Football Festival is now one of the biggest football events, not only in the Visayas, but in the Philippines. With 340 teams last year, it has drawn a following (it had only around 120 teams at the start).
“Thirsty Football was original in several aspects: it was the first to open all age ranges of both sexes (the first proponent of the players 6 and 36 above); it was the first to have night games; it’s format and ground rules have become the blueprint of the other football festivals. Football was growing in following due to this format.
Thirsty was a trail blazer.
“With the success of Thirsty, many other football festivals have sprouted. Then, the Azkal phenomenon burst into the scene in 2010. The football landscape has leap-frogged in the past two years. The partnership of Thirsty and Don Bosco Alumni Football Club is earning dividends.
“The 2013 Thirsty Football Festival will hold its 10th edition this weekend (February 15 to 17). Not only are we back to the home field, Cebu City Sport Center, we need more playing fields; hence, Don Bosco Technology Center, Labangon, will be a simultaneous playing venue for Saturday (Feb. 16).
“With 349 teams coming from Tacloban, Bohol, Dumaguete, Masbate, Cagayan De Oro, Bacolod, Leyte, Davao, Dipolog, Bukidnon and first timers Zamboanga, the 10th Thirsty Football Festival promises to be more exciting. We have staggering competitions in the Mens Open with 72 teams; Boys 14 with 37 teams; Boys 12 with 44 teams; Boys 17 with 30 teams.
“As Thirsty season comes, football players don’t need to stay long at night waiting for a great football match in TV; with the Thirsty Football Festival, you stay all night long to play the great match of your life. So tie your football shoes’ laces tight... get ready... let’s have another football celebration for the 10th time.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 12, 2013.