On the football field, the voice of coaches rising above everyone else’s would be unmistakable.

How ironic it is then that the same coaches barely have a say when it comes to matters concerning the development of football in the country.

The absence of a collective voice became more apparent when the pandemic struck and everything came to a halt with the lockdowns: Trained and licensed coaches who got detached from schools and clubs suddenly found themselves without players to train, without teams to manage, without work.

Though coaches are no strangers to adversity, the lockdowns highlighted the need for coaches to fight for their rights and welfare.

So as early as December last year, a group of coaches from all over the country decided to band together as the Football Coaches Association of the Philippines (FCAP).

During a Zoom meeting last Saturday, May 15, the FCAP announced its interim board of directors composed of Andres “Anto” Gonzales (Metro Manila) as president, Hans-Peter Smit (National Capital Region), Eleazar “Elying” Toledo (Cebu), Melchor Anzures (Davao), Miriam Merlin (Batangas), Abing Lim (Davao), Noel Casilao (Iloilo) and John Carmona (Negros).

Ake Pastoral, one of the incorporators of the group, presided over the virtual meet.

Coach Anto, FCAP president, said organizing the group is a big step in giving coaches a voice in Philippine football.

“Giving coaches a voice is a huge thing. Rest assured that we will give it our all for the coaches,” Coach Anto said in Filipino during the virtual meeting. “But it is important that we stand united in this pursuit.”

FCAP, which is now registered with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission, is working on being recognized by the Philippine Football Federation as the official organization of coaches.

Coach Elying said that while organizing the group has finally happened after many months of virtual meetings, the ongoing process should be done “in accordance to the requirements of the PFF.”

The group, which is open to all genders and is working on the membership registration process, also wants to make sure that every region is represented.

The FCAP Board is planning to hold a General Assembly either in November or December this year so members can nominate those who deserve to become officers of the board.

“We are dead serious. There will be no shortcuts,” said Coach Hans, who also stressed that the FCAP will be apolitical.

“There will be no politicking in this group,” he said. “This group is for the development of and in the best interest of all football coaches in the country.”