Marawi’s Ground Zero quiets war memories on football field

first_imgMarawi’s young footballers use the pitch to heal traumatic wounds. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBACOLOD CITY—There was hardly any hint of disappointment from a team that just lost by a huge margin on a sunny Thursday morning at the start of the 4th Nofa Cup Under-13 tournament at Sta. Maria field here.And considering what this team and its players have gone through the past two years, being here, playing the game that they love in a tournament that has lured some of the top schools and clubs in the country, this was easily a big achievement.ADVERTISEMENT “That was one of our first problems. We wanted to convince the parents and assure them it was safe to let their children play football.”Philippine Sports Commission Chair William “Butch” Ramirez, who graced the opening ceremony of the tournament here, stressed the importance of exposing children to sports to stop the cycle of war.“Peacemaking should start at an early age so it’s very important that they are exposed to sports,” Ramirez said.And perhaps there’s no better team to exemplify that than Team Marawi Ground Zero.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Team Marawi Ground Zero won’t be making headlines with its performances here, but its participation goes beyond what happens on the pitch.“We’re just happy to be here,” coach Esperidion Paran, 48, who started forming this team after the five-month armed conflict in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, said in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“Some of the players hardly slept last night because they were so excited to play. This is their first time to be in a big tournament. It’s a really great experience especially after what happened back home [in Marawi].”With the help of Negros Occidental Football Association president Ricky Yanson, Team Marawi secured a sponsor for its participation in the tournament. “As much as we want to help develop our players in the grassroots level, the journey of Team Marawi also shows how powerful football can be in bringing joy and excitement back to the lives of children,” Yanson said.Paran sees the sport as a way to heal the wounds of war particularly for his players, whom he said struggled to get some normalcy in their lives after the Marawi siege.One of his players, Jason Bagundol, lost his father, who was shot as he was caught in the crossfire while on his way to Mindanao State University during the early stages of the conflict.Paran and Bagundol are neighbors in Marawi, but the 12-year-old kid’s family has since relocated to Iligan City following the traumatic incident. Bagundol played in the 9-1 loss to Claret in their tournament opener.“Some of the parents of the players are still afraid to let their children play and interact with other children,” Paran said.ADVERTISEMENT Lady Troopers, Perlas Spikers log victories LATEST STORIES Rio’s unsafe Olympic Park ordered closed by Brazilian judge Taal evacuees make the most of ‘unusual’ clothing donations, leaves online users laughing Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN Deandre Ayton shines as Suns pound Knicks MOST READ NBI, BIR , PNP raid Illegal cigarette factory run by Chinese in Pampanga Olympic rings arrive in host city on barge into Tokyo Bay Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption PLAY LIST 02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? 11 nabbed for shabu, drug den busted in Maguindanao View commentslast_img read more

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