“Parents, teach your kids to be respectful to the coaches and referees,” this was part of the welcome message that Edward Hayco, the chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission, imparted during the opening ceremonies of the 17th Aboitiz Football Cup held Sunday evening at the Cebu City Sports Center.
In his message to the coaches, parents and athletes, Hayco stressed that in sports, it is not all about winning the game.
“Dili ang pinaka-importante ang madaug mo (Winning is not the most important thing). The most important is how you win the game and how you win friends while pursuing the win.”
According to Hayco, more than teaching the kids to win, it is more important to teach them how to lose with dignity.
Hayco further emphasized the role of parents and coaches by saying that when there is a good athlete, it is because of the coach and parents and not because of sports.
“Sports is a double-edged sword. It does not build character but rather reveals character.”
Last year’s edition of the Aboitiz Football Cup was marred by a brawl involving players of the opposing teams, parents and spectators. Involved parties, however, have already settled their differences.
Hayco divided his welcome message into two parts. In the first part he thanked the Cebu Football Association (CFA), the Aboitiz Foundation, Cebu City Sports Center general manager Ricky Ballesteros and all the volunteers for working together to bring about the tournament, which is considered as the longest-running and biggest football competition in Cebu.
He stressed the importance of continuing with the tournament by pointing out that having sports programs in place keep the children from getting involved in petty crimes.
“Kids aged seven to 15 years old have the most energy and they don’t know where to spend it. It is our obligation to provide them with the venue and that is sports.”
Aside from Hayco, Aboitiz Foundation trustee Jaime Jose Aboitiz also emphasized the value of respect for others, authority and rules in his own message.
According to Aboitiz, they have started allocating funds to support the development of football in 1997 because they want to popularize the sport in the province of Cebu.
He said that they have gone a long way and that he hopes that the tournament will be recognized nationally.
The opening ceremonies started with a parade of participating teams wherein the best of Cebu, players who have gone on to play in national and international competitions, were recognized. Among these were the members of the Philippine Under 14 girls team–Jan Reese Jumawan, Itsuko Bacatan, Arantxa Marie Trebol, Alexandrea Gumilao and Alexa Ceniza. They played a big role in the national team’s second place finish in an Asian Football Confederation regional tournament in Vietnam last year. So far, the best finish for any girls or ladies team in the history of Philippine football.
CFA president Ricky Dakay declared the games open while Trebol led all participating athletes in the Oath of Fair Play. Fireworks capped the event.
Also present were Aboitiz Foundation’s trustee Txabi Aboitiz, EVP and COO Sonny Carpio, AVP for operations Danny Cerence, Jowelle Ann Cruz and Rechiel Cordova.
The 17th edition, which has 15 divisions, attracted 194 teams. Matches will begin this weekend. Aside from the Cebu City Sports Center, games will also be played at the Don Bosco Technology Center, the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and the football field in San Roque.
The tournament will run until April 2015.