Monday, 11 May 2009

Vision Asia-Philippines football program to kick-off in Cebu

By Judy Flores | www.panaynewsphilippines.com

CEBU City – In support of the Vision Asia program of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) will launch its version of the program this month in Cebu.

Vision Asia is a program initiated by AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam to raise the standard of football in the Asian region through a holistic approach, said Edward Magallona, who heads the grassroots aspect of the PFF.

Magallona, who was in Dumaguete for yesterday’s launching of the 1st PFF/Milo Football Festival Caravan said the idea of Vision Asia is to help the different countries in the region develop their individual structures best suited to their individual environment.

At the same time, the program also looks at strengthening the administrative structure of national football associations, like the Philippine Football Federation, to complement with other Asian countries, he added.

Magallona said the AFC has visited different countries in Asia to assess and propose changes in the national associations, such as in areas like administration, officiating, grassroots, and mainly competition.

A few countries have already adopted the Vision Asia concept, like China and Vietnam, he added.

Recently, the Philippines sent a delegation to Malaysia for a working study tour on the Vision Asia program after an assessment team had visited the PFF.

According to Magallona, some areas in the PFF needed to be overhauled completely including the federation’s constitution and by-laws.

Negros Oriental Provincial Sports Coordinator Ernesto Ravello has thrown his support Vision Asia-Philippines, saying that if Asian countries patterned their football programs to complement each other, then it would make the region more competitive in international competitions.

He said if the objective is to make Asia one of the power blocs in football, then there will have to be changes in certain areas of football development in the region.

Magallona, meanwhile, said he believes that adopting the Vision Asia program would make countries in the Asian more competitive in famed competitions such as the World Cup.

Africa is already participating in the World Cup and Asia is getting there through China, Japan and Korea, he said. But there is still a lot of hard work to do to be at par with other countries, he stressed.

According to Magallona, the impact of the Vision Asia-Philippines program cannot be felt and seen overnight, but there is no way to go but up.

While the Philippines is not quite competitive enough in the grading of the FIFA, it has earned at least 10 to 12 steps higher in recent ranking, he said.

On the other hand, Magallona disclosed that on May 27, the PFF would launch the Hyundai Cup in Manila to be participated in by club teams in Luzon.

Depending on resources and logistics, the same event might just be held in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Hopefully, this will jumpstart the formation of a semi-professional football league in the country, he said. (PNA)

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