By MST Sports | Posted on Jun. 09, 2013 at 12:01am | 1 views
FOOTBALL took the country by storm when the Philippine Azkals surprised the world with their outstanding performance in the 2010 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. The fiery form of the Filipino footballers spearheaded by the likes of Chieffy Caligdong, Neil Etheridge, and Phil Younghusband earned the Philippines’ rite of passage to the Southeast Asian football scene.
Suzuki Philippines’ General Manager for Motorcycle Division Eiji Kobayashi hands out balls to the children participating in the football clinic held as part of the PFF Suzuki CupU23 kick off activities.
With the international victory of the Azkals as inspiration, Suzuki Philippines, the only integrated automobile and motorcycle company in the country, has worked together with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) to serve as a catalyst in making Philippine football truly world-class by launching the PFF Suzuki U23 National Cup.
Since it started in 2011, the PFF Suzuki Cup remains to be the premiere showcase for discovering and developing home-grown football talents. It builds on the momentum started by the Azkals’ breakthrough and seeks to be the springboard for more Filipino football success stories.
Committed to developing both football and the Filipino youth by holding tournaments across the country, Suzuki has already touched the lives of many young players from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with this program.
Now on its third year, the PFF Suzuki U23 Cup strives to be the football program designed to identify, enhance, and sustain the skills and overall potential of young native football players. By tapping schools, barangays, local football clubs, and regional groups to participate in the various levels of competition, the tournament provides future, promising, and young Philippine Azkal players the opportunities to hone their skills, fuel their passion and strengthen their drive to excel on the playing pitch.
Teams representing the cream of the crop from all over the country faced each other in the PFF Suzuki U23 Cup kick-off rounds last month to gain a semi-finals slot. The final qualifying and semi-final rounds were held in Dumaguete City last May 17-28 to choose the top teams who will make it to the championship match held last May 30. The Negros Occidental Football Association emerged as this year’s champions after posting a 1-0 win over the Davao Football Association.
Suzuki Philippines President Hiroshi Suzuki said, “Our dedication to the development of football in the country reflects Suzuki’s spirit of being tough yet passionate about excellence, quality, and performance to achieve positive strategic effects on both people and environment. Through the PFF Suzuki Cup, we are confident that we are helping flourish not only Philippine sports but our Filipino youth as well.”