(Feature)First national beach football tourney born in white sand-carpeted Masbate town’s beach

April 23, 2015 10:40 am 

By Norman B. Tamar

BALUD, Masbate, April 22 (PNA) — For brief two sunny days, the white powdery sand of Barangay Palani here replicated that of the fabled Copacabana Beach of the football powerhouse brazil.

Amid a clear blue sky that meets the sea line at a distance as a backdrop, this town launched the first-ever national beach football competition in the pristine white beaches of the coastal village of Palani.

Eager members of 51 teams in both the men and women categories did not mind the scorching heat of the sand and the sun as their spirits and enthusiasm prevailed.

Besides they knew that playing on the sand, which is more difficult than on the grass, gave Brazilian players, the strength, the speed, and the rhythm that allowed them to dominate what Pele called the beautiful game.

And so the players bravely crossed the seas, coming all along from Calapan City in Mindoro, Iloilo City, Legazpi City and other cities in Luzon to join the competition.

Some teams were just from other towns of Masbate.

What made the opening on Thursday livelier and boosting to the morale of the participants was the presence of acting Provincial Governor of Masbate Vince B. Revil, Vice Governor Kaye Revil, and the local municipal officials of Balud headed by Municipal Mayor Ruben Jude Delmindo Lim.

Of course, the local government officials were not alone in making the first competition of beach football enthusiasts a successful and memorable one.

From the time it learned of the forthcoming sports event, the Masbate Gold Project (MGP) entered into the picture and gave a generous financial assistance recommended by Filminera Resources Corp. (FRC) President Cris Acosta through the company’s Community Relations Manager Ramon Velasco.

MGP's assistance for the country’s first national beach football tournament and other tourism activities is part of its sustained efforts to contribute to Masbate’s social and economic development as it promotes the theme: "MininG responsiBly."

In a quest to promote grassroots football, Balud Beach Football organizer, lawyer Emilio “JunJun” Abelita, and MGP Communications Director Gene Gregorio engaged in a brainstorming session to discuss the details of the event, with the assistance of friends from the Rodeo Masbateno Inc. and the presently all-lady Proud Masbateno Ako civic group.

Thus, the first national beach football tournament was born in Balud.

During the opening ceremony, Lim expressed hope that the Balud Beach Football will become a national event, even an international one, in the future.

"Setting up an annual beach football tournament is one way of promoting the undiscovered beautiful and white sand beaches in Balud, which will boost tourism and help improve the town’s economy," the town chief executive added.

Competing men’s teams were the Mama Sita, La Salle, FEU Alumni, Milagros Football Club, Balud FC, Kalye Gwapo, Batch 92, Barotac Nuevo Iloilo, Mindoro FC, DUFC A, DUFC B, Premiero FC, MCFC, San Fernando FC and UST Alumni.

Of the 15 teams in the men’s category, 12 teams had members below 17 years of age.

The women’s teams were from Aroroy FC, Boracay FC and those with ages below 17 were from Boracay FC, Masbate Talks, and Naga City.

The boys’ team for the grassroots level came from Aroroy FC, Boracay FC, Masbate Football Academy, Usab FC, Dimasalang FC, and Cataingan FC.

While on the wide carpet of the searing sand, young players had to dip their feet in a pail of water prepared by their coaches every couple of minutes as all of them were playing barefooted.

Since this was the very first time that a football event was held in a beach, football organizers realized a lot of adjustments to make in pushing through their future beach football tournaments.

The end goals of the playing teams stood about 50 meters away from each other since the feet-burying soft and smaller-grained sand was harder to negotiate than a normal playing field.

The future beach football competitions certainly are off to success – and the MGP and FRC vow to all always stay behind its organizers and participants.

“We are happy to support the traditions of Brazil’s Copacabana beach football players in helping players from Masbate and other provinces achieve excellence in the sport,” Gregorio stressed.(PNA)

CTB/FGS/NBT/CBD/EDS

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