Emerge Stefti: Tacloban school uses football as therapy

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Monday, February 24, 2014


STRONG winds, torrential rains, flood and fallen debris never stopped the Boys Under-15 St. Therese Educational Foundation Inc. (Stetfi) football team from playing the beautiful game of football.

Just three months after Typhoon Yolanda ravaged Tacloban City, there is no trace in the faces of the young footballers that they experienced one of the most terrifying moments of their lives.

“All the schools there were damaged when it was hit by Typhoon Yolanda. Renovations are now undergoing. But despite that, the kids still play. We’re are slowly cleaning up the pitch,” Stetfi head coach Irvin Nogar told Sun.Star Cebu, while his team was warming up for their Boys Under-15 match in the 11th Thirsty Football Cup yesterday.

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Though only smiles can be seen in his players’ faces, it wasn’t all like that months ago because of the destruction by the typhoon it took some time before the kids could return to playing football.

“The kids there had a hard time playing football because there was a problem with the transportation there. There is also a problem with the lights because there is no electricity and it will be too dark after class,” said Nogar.

The team members are Ken Kaufman Lagunzad, Kent Vincent Nogar, Paul Henrik Esmande, Keandrei ADriel Andrade, Joshua Agape Lopez, John Reian Cuares, Bryan Steven Borja, Bal Nicalex Floro, Gerard Manuel Garcia, Jo Marvin Nicer and Christian Elly Laboga.

Just a month after the mass destruction in Tacloban City, Nogar returned smiles on kids’ faces by putting up a football clinic and a feeding program with the help of the Leyte Football Association, headed by Dan Palami.

Though it will still take some time for the city to return to what it once was, Nogar wants to give hope to the youth through football.

“We dedicate this to our fellow Taclobanons. Even though we were affected by Typhoon Yolanda, I wanted to show the kids that we can stand up again. We thank the organizers for giving us a slot in the tournament. The kids really wanted to play,” he said.

Regardless of the outcome of their outcome their Under-15 division campaign yesterday, the Stefti side is just thankful that they are able to play the game that they love despite the problems that they have faced in the past few months.

“Emerge Stefti means that our school has hope that we will rise again,” said Nogar, who wore a shirt that was printed with “Emerge Stetfi Never Forget 11.08.13.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 24, 2014.

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