Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dili kamo nag-iisa. Sendong Charity Game Poster and CGreatwich's statement

Listen, guys.

This is a perfect opportunity for football fans to give back. Too often, we have always thought, what can I do to help? The football players and the powers that be have done their share by organizing this game, it is now up to the footballing community to rise up to the challenge and help out.

Here is Azkals' Chris Greatwich's statement regarding the game. (courtesy of http://azkalsfootballteam.com/news.php?id=13).

A Special Message from Chris Greatwich

Like millions of people around their television sets, I watched in horror as typhoon Sendong hit Mindanao and caused devastation throughout Southern Philippines. In the past with other natural disasters, I have sat there, watched, thought about how sad it must be and then carried on with my day. I remember a few years ago when the Tsunami hit Thailand and Indonesia around Christmas time and the loss of life and destruction it caused, and yet I felt helpless to do anything to contribute in a way that would have genuine impact.

In the past year, the Azkals have gone from relative unknowns to well-known celebrities. Even 'players' with minimal involvement with the Azkals have seemed to have enticed corporations and sponsors to scramble to be associated with the National Team players. While it is great that some of our players can make a career out of playing football in the Philippines (a concept which was impossible a few years ago) we now have a responsibility socially to contribute in a positive way.

In the aftermath of Sendong it was time for action. As people were left without clothes, homeless and even without loved ones (the death toll is now set to rise to above 3000) I knew that as a football community, we needed to do something to help. It began by tweeting Dan Palami and Craig Burrows—two men who have been heavily involved in developing football in the Philippines and have experience in putting on and promoting big events. The concept was simple—organize a charity game for people to come and the money raised will go straight to the victims of the flood. Within an hour a meeting had been arranged, with LBC CEO Santi Araneta and Global FC Coach Graeme Mackinnon getting heavily involved to push this through. The outcome: a game vs CF Madrid on January 7th, which will be televised on a major TV network, LBC will be providing boxes for people to donate clothes, blankets and groceries and an auction of Azkals memorabilia to help raise additional funds for the cause.  

Football has the ability to transcend barriers like no other vehicle. I have been involved with the Azkals for the past 7 years and the profile of the team has never been higher and it has been a meteoric rise to fame based on the foundations of hard work, togetherness and a 'never-say-die' attitude. My hope is that the National Team realize that we can now use football as a vehicle to transcend these barriers, to help to build relationships with local communities, to aid the impoverished and to generally assist those most in the need.

My hope is that the upcoming Sendong Charity Game will be the catalyst for other such initiatives to help the Filipino's who are most in need. Football is the beautiful game and has the power to help those less fortunate than ourselves. This Christmas—spare a thought for those people in Mindanao without a Christmas—and come out and support our game on January 7th.


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