Azkal team members, Pru Life UK and BSU officials do the ceremonial kicking of the ball to start the Football for a Better Life event on November 18, 2016 at the BSU oval.
Aside from being one of the sponsors, BSU also hosted the Football for a Better Life (FFABL) held on November 18-20, 2016 at the athletic grounds. The FFABL is a nationwide grassroots football program with training, tournament, and talent identification components. It was launched in 2015 with Pru Life UK as its main supporter.
The FFABL-BSU leg was sponsored by Pru Life UK, SPEARS, Cordillera Region Football Association (CRFA), Azkals and the BSU Football Club. There were five categories in the event, the under 8 years old (mixed boys and girls), under 10 years old (mixed boys and girls), under 12 years old (boys), under 14 years old (mixed boys and girls) and under 17 years old (mixed boys and girls). It was participated by more than a thousand football players coming from 43 participating schools in Benguet and Baguio City.
The opening program held on November 18, 2016 at the ROTC stage was attended by Albert Almendralejo, head of the FFABL Program; Gizelle Camua, AVP for Brand and Communications of Pru Life UK; Azkal members Nelson Gasic, Caygill Graham, Simone Rota, Ashley Flores and Ref Cuaresma; Silvestre K. Aben, BSU VP for Business Administration representing BSU President, Dr. Feliciano G. Calora Jr. and Frael U. Aquino, president of CRFA.
In lieu of a message, Almendralejo allowed the Azkal team members to share their stories saying that it would speak much of for the FFABL program. Thus, Nelson Gasic of the Azkals who is a Baguio City native emphasized discipline and avoiding vices in order to succeed in football. Simone Rota was adopted from an orphanage by his Italian parents and he went on to play football in Germany and Switzerland. He advised the participants to always trust themselves, “one of you can be an Azkal”, he said.
The three-day event was composed of football clinic with the Philippine Azkals and a 7-a side football festival. The participants got to learn from the Azkal team members and afterwards competed with each other.//JSTabangcura