A date with history looms

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Saturday, April 5, 2014


JUST one more game and Team Philippines, which has three players from Davao City, will have a date with history. At stake is a seat in the Street Child World Cup finals that will be played in Brazil's old stadium, Fluminense Football Club.

Agot Danton of SOS Children's Village Davao scored a hattrick to lift Philippine girls to a 6-0 win over England in Rio de Janiero, Brazil Friday (Rio time). The ragtag team from the Philippines, thus, secured a ticket to the semi-finals and will clash against Mozambique, which crushed South Africa (7-3).

The other semis match pits Brazil against El Salvador. Brazion demolished Nicaragua, 3-1, while El Salvador edged Zimbabwe, 5-4.

Danton's teammates Maylene Albaracin, Angelica and Juvie Lynn netted one goal each to secure the lopsided win. Albaracin is also from SOS Children's Village-Davao as well as goalkeeper Joy Roces Chavez.

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Danton, in a press statement furnished to Sun.Star Davao Friday, was quoted to have said: "Magtiwala sa isa't isa. Discipline and sportsmanship ang kailangan sa loob at labas ng field."

The statement said the Pinay booters would put together 20 passes before a shot to "avoid thrashing their opponents by too high a score, given the spirit of the Street Child World Cup".

April of Payatas Football Club, according to the statement, said, "Parang friendly lang, tapos pakikisama ng teammates and we give it to God."
England absorbed its fourth straight loss in the tournament.

Mozambique, however, will be a strong force to reckon with.

"The real mettle of the (Philippine) girls will be tested. On and off the pitch they have been superb ambassadors for the Philippines and everyone is proud of them. But they will need a professional performance to advance to the final," the statement said.

SOS Children's Village Davao girls coach Keith Shelly "Kitoy" Canton, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao, praised the efforts of Danton, Albaracin and Chavez.

Canton said, "Proud kaayo ko nila nga nakasulod sila sa team. Wala ko mag expect nga mag-semis sila (I'm very proud they made it to the team. I never expected they will make it into the semis)."

She has high hopes with the Dabawenyas, saying, "Knowing our girls, mu- fight na sila para makasulod sa finals (they will fight to advance into the finals). Kana si Agot, dili na niya basta-basta buy-an. Dili na sya musugot mapildi basta-basta lang, mulaban na sila hangtod sa ulahing tingog sa pito (Agot will not let go that easily. She doesn't want to lose without a fight. They will fight until the last blow of the whistle)."

Canton took after the coaching job of the team from another former RP national women's player Leonor "Wowie" Satorre. Coach Kitoy has been with the SOS FC girls squad for the past four years.

She described Danton as the leader of the team, saying in the vernacular, "She is a born leader. Whether in sports or other activities at SOS, she takes the lead. She is an excellent player, without any angst at all. She is very responsible. She is the first one who encourages her teammates whenever our rival team scores."

As the years went by, Coach Kitoy said Danton has grown in her sportsmanship recalling that the latter would cry whenever they lose.
Albaracin, according to Coach Kitoy, is dependable in defense and has initiative. "She doesn't complain and executes instruction easily."

The veteran coach said goalie Chavez has also contributed greatly to the team's defense in every game. She is happy that the three girls and the rest of their teammates in Team Philippines are making the country proud.
But it's not just the winning that matters for the girls in the Street Child World Cup. A brighter future awaits them when they return. Coach Kitoy revealed that UAAP member universities have started offering the Dabawenyas varsity scholarships in college.

The Brazil trip is indeed a milestone in their football careers and a stepping stone towards a more secure future.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 06, 2014.

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