Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch Ramirez” has announced plans for a new national football tournament for Under-13 players to be held next year at the newly-refurbished Rizal Memorial Stadium, in support of the “Football para sa lahat” development program of the country’s various Football Associations (FAs).
Ramirez made the announcement last Monday at the launch of the Luzon Cup football tournament for Under-12 players spearheaded by the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) and the Central Luzon Football Association (CLFA). The Luzon Cup will be held from Nov. 21 till Nov. 24 at the Jose V. Yap Sports and Recreational Complex in San Jose, Tarlac. The Luzon Cupis supported by the Tarlac provincial and local governments and the Department of Education.
Ramirez delighted the FAs and football enthusiasts present at the launch with his surprise announcement of a new national age-group tourney, with the PSC chair expressing his gratitude for the FAs’ efforts to promote sports development in the regions. He said the new tourney can feature the champions of the NOFA Cup, Mindanao Cup, and the coming Luzon Cup, age-group tournaments backed by the NOFA and its partner FAs.
“We will offer Rizal Memorial Stadium for the national championship to add some support, para tuluy-tuloy na kayo,” Ramirez told the enthusiastic crowd. The PSC chair bared that he has a special affinity for football, as his granddaughter who is based in the US competes at a high level for a spot in the US age-group teams.
Chairman Ramirez noted the NOFA’s efforts under its president Ricardo “Ricky” Yanson, Jr. to partner with other FAs throughout the country to replicate NOFA’s successful “Football para sa lahat” development programs in the Visayas.
In cooperation with fellow football associations and football stakeholders, NOFA has been organizing tournaments for Under-12 and Under-13 boys, beginning with its own Bacolod-based NOFA Cup which has completed four successful editions since 2015. In October, the Davao Central Football Association and NOFA successfully held the Mindanao Cup in Davao City for 16 Under-12 teams, with Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte in attendance.
Yanson thanked Chairman Ramirez, saying a new national age-group tourney in Manila will be the perfect cap-stone to the triangle of Bacolod, Davao, and Tarlac age-group tourneys put up by the FAs. “Our dream, through ‘Football sa lahat’ is to support more tournaments and activities for all age groups. We want more Filipinos to enjoy football,” said Yanson.
CLFA General Secretary Ed Flaminiano said the upcoming Luzon Cup is a significant development.
“Malaking bagay ito para sa amin sa Central Luzon at sa buong Luzon dahil for the past three years, there have been no tournaments in Central Luzon,” said Flaminiano of the Luzon Cup, which is expecting 16 teams, including Mindanao Cup champion the Bukidnon Football Association team.