Azkals’ team capt. helps Maguindanao governor foster peace among folks PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 April 2014 11:51

Peace in Southern Mindanao can easily be achieved if the area’s sports-minded children are taught the deeper tenets of sportsmanship, ambiguity, cooperation and teamwork, for them to easily overcome the odds and challenges besetting their communities.

It was this conviction that motivated the team captain of the Philippine football team Azkals, Chieffy Caligdong, to come to Maguindanao last April 6 and impart to hundreds of Moro, Christian and lumad children a deeper understanding of sportsmanship, as young footballers, while the world commemorated the International Day of Sport for Peace and Development.

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu jointly facilitated the April 6 day-long “football-for-peace” clinic in Buluan town.

Caligdong was accompanied to Buluan, seat of the Maguindanao provincial government, by PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy.

Ten-year-old Karim, son of a Moro farmer, who has always loved football since he was in second grade, said April 6 was a happy day when Caligdong came to Buluan town and taught them techniques of the sport.

Caligdong led the sports clinic, under the auspices of the PSC and with the assistance of the Maguindanao provincial government.

Caligdong, a former enlisted member of the Philippine Air Force, lauded the provincial government of Maguindanao for introducing and helping educate children about football and the promote sportsmanship — in support of peace and development in the province.

Caligdong added that he was amazed to experience Maguindanao’s tranquility, contrary to the popular “perception” that the province is unsecured and unstable.

Mangudadatu said he supported the football clinic project to promote “fraternalism” and religious solidarity among participating school children to complement the peace efforts of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Southern Mindanao.

Mangudadatu also thanked the PSC for organizing the event and for bringing in the football icon Caligdong.

“By teaching them (children) the rudiments and benefits of sportsmanship, teamwork and cooperation in their most tender years, they will become responsible, peace-loving adults,” Mangudadatu said.

Fatima, 12, and her friends, Aisa, 11, and Samirah, 10, were so excited to join the sports clinic that they almost could not sleep the night before.

Fatima said her father Abdul, also a farmer, has been supportive of her fondness for football.

“Ang sabi ni Ama, mismong si Prophet Mohammad ay gustong lumahok ang kanyang mga tagapagsunod noong kanyang kapanahunan sa iba’t ibang larangan ng palakasan dahil ito ay makakabuti para sa lahat,” Fatima said in Filipino, in Maguindanaon accent.

Caligdong and Mangudadatu told the participants to the sports clinic that the unity of Maguindanao’s diverse residents will be strengthened if children in the province learn the value of teamwork and cooperation in addressing issues confronting the local communities.

“As a team, children will learn how to address internal misunderstandings amicably, become responsible for all their actions, and able to meet minds in planning out how to overcome obstacles,” Mangudadatu said.