There was a lot of excitement and energy as the Hugpong program rolled out its sports for peace activity. One can feel it and see it from all the boys and girls of Amai Pakpak CES, Bae Inomba Blo Bacarat CES, Abdulazis ES and Sultan Conding ES who participated in the activity. It was their first time to learn how to play soccer. We provided them with footballs, and with green and orange reflectorized sports vests. They excitedly donned their colourful sports vests as soon as the coaches signalled the start of their training activity. We were lucky to have professional football coaches, 2 of whom coach the national football team popularly-known as Philippine Azkals, who volunteered to teach soccer to the children. Much appreciation goes to Valenzuela City Councilor Rovin Feliciano who heads the sports program in his city, for helping us bring the coaches to Marawi City.
Doing sports is a good and proven way to teach about values to children. Councilor Feliciano started the activity by talking to the children about the value of sportsmanship. Because soccer is a game, the children could become competitive but they should remember that there are rules of the game and one must play with fairness and with respect for the other team. It is also important to have team spirit and discipline. One team may win and another may lose, but winning or losing should be an inspiration to players to even become better.
In the actual training, the students were grouped into smaller groups and Coach Mark and the other coaches trained each group on the basics of soccer. They practiced running while holding the hands of their team mates and forming a human chain. This way, they learned to move as a team. After much running, Coach Mark introduced footwork. They learned ball dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting and topping using foot. Each student did as many ball touches as possible to practice his/ her legs and feet.
The students experienced playing an actual game. The coaches gave final reminders to the children on their goal, their positions and the do’s and don’ts. From the blowing of the whistle to signal the start of the game until its end, there were a lot of running, foot dribbling, shouting and laughter. The school children watching around were cheering for their friends and classmates.
It was a well-spent day as the dust had finally settled in the school’s outdoor gymnasium.