Tambayan United’s Mission: Possible

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

WINNING is already a given challenge as every athlete aspires to win. But more than that, this group of eight youths from the city’s inner city settlements have a mission.

“Magtudlo (To teach),” said 19-year-old Annalou P. Arrogante.

“I-share namo sa mga naa diri ang skills, techniques at saka kanilang campaigns (We will share to our peers the skills, techniques, and the campaigns that we will learn there),” 17-year-old Reynald Arcipe added.

Annalou and Reynald are part of the four-male and four-female team of Tambayan United who will be joining the Fude Street Football World Event to be held in the City of Sao Paulo in Brazil this coming July 1-12, 2014.

Fude means Fundacion Fútbol para el Desarrollo (Football Development Foundation) an Argentina-based foundation that targets social inclusion, health, children's rights, and education through soccer football.
Fude aims to “contribute to social change and to promote development through football and education”.

A non-profit organization that works with sports as a tool for development, Fude works from local to global levels of networks to create and nurture strategies that strengthen organizations and experiences that use sports and culture to “promote the inclusion of disadvantaged people and to improve their quality of life”.

Football is regarded as the most powerful and popular sport that most fits poor communities because it only needs a ball and a little space to play, unlike other sports that have installations and other equipment. Filipinos may be more hooked on basketball, but football has served as a key in the development of the disadvantaged youths in other countries.

In 2010, the Tambayan Center for Children’s Rights Inc. (Tambayan), which handles issues, concerns, and programs for street and other disadvantaged girls launched the Red Card Campaign against Child Abuse and Exploitation that saw the creation of football teams among girls in the communities Tambayan works in: Barangay 21-C or more commonly referred to as Boulevard (for Quezon Boulevard), Barangay 22-C or Piapi, and Barangay 23-C, which covers Mini Forest, Salmonan, and Isla Verde.

In the game of soccer, a referee sends off a player who commits a violent foul by issuing a Red Card. This has been taken up as a symbol for actions against child abuse and exploitation.

Ilyn Dumancas, staff of Tambayan said that while Tambayan has around 30 girls who play football, they have given these girls free reign to set up their own criteria of choosing who would be among the four participating in the Fude event.

Bonna Vanguardia, 19, said among the criteria the girls agreed on were that the candidates for the final four were regularly attending football practices and were active in Tambayan activities. This, plus the age requirement set by Fude from 17-21. The age requirement itself has already sifted out many girls since Tambayan works with girls as young as 7. After that, the girls put up the finalists to a vote.

In the end, Annalou, Bonna, Maremadel A. Bancil (17), and Reshell Mae S. Alejo (16) were the ones chosen.

It was an easier pick for the boys because there is no sustained football development program thus, even as Tambayan asked the barangay councils in 21-C, 22-C and 23-C to recommend, there were very few boys who were actively playing football.

That was how they got Reynald along with Johnry O. Desoyo (19), Romano Rosabal (19), and Yubert Bandibas (17).

They decided to call their team, Tambayan United and are all excited to compete.

Values Learned

The eight said they picked up football from school and also in Tambayan’s Red Card campaign that taught the girls to play and sustained teams that have been competing in tournaments since 2010.

Asked how they benefitted from engaging in the sport, Bonna said the greatest benefit is in health.

“Makatabang sa fitness (It improves one’s physical fitness),” she said.
“Makakuha pud ka og values, yung respect. Kasi naglatagaw man ako noon. Makaundang yosi (You learn good values like respect. I frequented the streets before. It helped me stop from smoking),” she added. Being “latagaw” in the city’s street lingo denotes every bad thing a young person can get into when he or she hangs out in the streets with the wrong crowd, whether it be smoking, drugs, drinking, sex, and even riots.

All the boys agreed that playing stopped them from smoking because smoking results to shortness of breath whenever they play.

Romano said the sport also taught them to attend to their well-being as they are now more concerned with their health, and best of all, they now go to bed early, instead of hanging out on the streets until the wee hours of the morning like they used to.

Maremadel said that with the encouragement they get from those who coach them, they also learn to eat nutritious food. “Dilina mag-eat ng junk food at softdrink (We no longer take junkfood and softdrinks),” she said.
The sport also taught them honesty. When violations are called on them as they play, like a handball, they accept the call when they know they did commit it. Then there is commitment to continue practicing.

“My game is fair play,” Romano said.

Dumancas said football has become more than just a game for the children of Tambayan.

“Hindi lang siya basta laro kundi parang naa-apply nila from the game ang kanilang goals. Unsaon man ang goals kung walang values (It has become more than just a game. They are able to apply their learnings from the sport to their personal goals. Like, setting up a goal and achieving them is nothing when it is not instilled with values),” Dumancas said.

They have been practicing for weeks now at the Tionko Football Field along Quimpo Boulevard.

The World Event

There will be teams from all over the world. Thus, the Tambayan United will not only be representing Tambayan and Davao City, but will also be carrying the issues of the disadvantaged children in the Philippines.

The team’s travel along with their three adult chaperones are funded by CordAid, Bread of the World, and Fude. QPixel also contributed, Dumancas said.

While competition is imbibed in the sport, the priorities in the Street Football World Event are playing, sharing, and respect, over and above winning.

Fútbolcallejero calls for mixed teams that develop their own rules, play without a referee, and instead elect a mediator.

“The main purpose of this event is to guarantee the right to play and practice sports as a tool to overcome vulnerable situations that affect children and young people, and to stimulate a debate among them regarding non violent responses in order to create a culture of peace,” Tambayan said.

As Fude states in its goals: “Football is just a mean to invite them to get involved in what we call a ‘cultural change’ from a culture of individualism and success for a culture of community and solidarity in which all the diverse actors should take part in the social development.”

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