Azkals cites Zambo recovery:‘A fantastic message of hope’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 14:22

by Vic Larato

“What Zamboanga City has gone through—from the siege period in 2013 to where it is now in the recovery period—is a fantastic message of hope.”

Thus how Ruffin Nagtalon described the city’s fast recovery from the 2013 siege, even as he congratulated the city government under Mayor Beng Climaco for building back a better Zamboanga.

“Your work is phenomenal,” said Nagtalon, who is one of the co-founders of Football for Peace (F4P) that brought the Azkals to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for a football clinic.

He said the F4P was in Zamboanga barely weeks after the siege in September 2013. “I have seen the destruction in the affected areas then. It was not nice to see.”

He further said seeing again those areas, two years after the siege, is truly amazing. “If you want to show hope, that is a fantastic message of hope. This is the kind of thing that we see no different in sports. How you can persist and survive, Zamboanga has showed that.”

Simon McMenemy, head coach of Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club, said coming to Zamboanga was inspiring for him though it was his first time here “but I was amazed at how quickly the recovery of those areas,” now considered as “ground zero.”

“It’s great to be able to come to a place where you see good being done and we’ve seen so much positive work,” he said.

Jeff Tarayo, president of One Meralco Foundation, likewise hailed the resiliency that Zamboangueños have shown during the conflict period and he promised to bring back the football clinic or F4P in the city.

He said plans are afoot to conduct the football clinic in Zamboanga with the Azkals and the Loyola Meralco Sparks that will be some sort of an exhibition game. But the plans and negotiations for the event have not been finalized yet.

James Younghusband of Azkals also promised to come back once everything is final.

He advised local football athletes to keep playing as much as they can. “The more you touch on the ball the better you become.”

The Azkals, the Philippine National Football Team, together with One Meralco Foundation executives and the Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club paid a courtesy call on Mayor Climaco in City Hall yesterday morning.

They were barely on a brief stopover from Bongao, where they had the F4P clinic, on their way back to Manila, and decided to pay a visit to City Hall.— Vic Larato