IROK in the Philippines (Vikings NZ)

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After playing in the Vikings International Cup in Christchurch New Zealand, the IROK Philippines womens side invited NZ CEO Paul Wadsworth for a visit to the Philippines.

Futsal in the Philippines is very small with Basketball being the number one sport. But a core group of passionate Futsal players lead by IROK Coach Manny Batungbacal and his assistant Paul Encarnacion have progressed the sport along nicely.

The womens side won the Philippines their first medal ever for any football code with a well desrved Bronze at the South East Asian Games in 2007. This sort of success is not without it’s hardships though. The side had to fund itself to the tournament and with the girls running min tournaments, selling fusal socks, holding garage sales and collecting plastic bottles they still fell short of their target, so Coach Manny stepped in and sold his car to ensure the side made it to the event.

Futsal in the Philippines faces similar problems to a lot of other countries around the world. A National Football Body that wants ownership of Futsal but is not willing to invest. Discrimination from football people and lack of funds. but through this Coach Manny and Paul along with the girls have pressed on and spread the word that is Futsal.

The visit by Wadsworth gave him a chance to see first hand the set up in the Philippines. It is likely teams from Australia and New Zealand will look to visit in the future to play against local Philippine talent in tournaments and tours. The hospitality shown by the IROK group was fantastic as they showed Wadsworth around the city, put on a mixed Futsal tournament for him to run an eye over local players and then hosted a garden party for him on his last evening.

Manny, Paul and the girls have the heart and passion for Futsal which is one of the most important ingredients for growth. Their dedication and personal devotion to Futsal is unrivalled and we wish them all well in the Future.

Source : Vikings Futsal NZ
Published : 25/9/2008

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