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As of 2020, over 500 public schools (298 in Metro Manila) spread across seven regions in the Philippines were playing futsal largely through the efforts of Danny Moran and the Henry V. Moran Foundation’s (Moran Foundation) “Liga Eskwela Futsal” program.
This was a result of several years of work by the Moran Foundation in collaboration with the Philippine Football Federation. Interestingly, the impetus for the growth of futsal in the country came from a suggestion from the then Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines Roberto Mayorga, who pitched the idea of doing an Ambassador’s Cup to the Moran Foundation’s Chairman Danny Moran, Team Socceroo, and the University of Asia & Pacific.
That Ambassador’s Cup took on a World Cup feel with different embassies adopting a community team for the competition.
The success of the Ambassador’s Cup led to Moran wanting to bring the game of futsal to public schools with the help of the Department of Education. A former national team football player in the 1970s, Danny saw in futsal a game that can be easily implemented in the public school and Philippine community setting, and he also saw a format that can quickly improve the skills and technique of young children with the higher number of ball contact and touches.
The Liga Eskwela program began in 2016 with 11 schools with Physical Education teachers being taught the rudiments of the game while forming their own programs. That led to a futsal festival which to this day, is held every January at La Salle Greenhills. Furthermore, futsal has been approved to be a demonstration sport for elementary schoolgirls in the 2020 Palarong Pambansa. The PSC also reintroduced futsal as a sport for boys and girls at their annual Batang Pinoy games.
The entry of international insurance provider Allianz in 2018 gave the platform for young boys and girls to take the sport on. The Allianz Youth Futsal Invitational is a youth tournament held in eight regions across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that complements Palarong Pambansa with tournaments for U14 and U16 boys and girls.
In 2019, seeing the growth and potential of futsal the Moran Foundation invited futsal legend Victor Hermans to assess the growth of the sport in the Philippines.
Hermans, who is Dutch, has skippered six national teams; three of which he led to the Futsal World Cup.
Hermans toured the Philippines watching the Palarong Pambansa and Allianz games in Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Laguna. He came away with the conclusion that the game has tremendous potential, and that the Philippines is a sleeping giant in the sport.
As a result, the PFF conducted the first Asian Football Confederation Level 2 coaching course in the country last May 2019 with Vic Hermans as the instructor working with potential coaches, who will hopefully apprentice under the Dutchman. This was also followed up by Vic Hermans also conducting the AFC Level 1 course later in the same year with the top graduates of the Level 2 course assisting him in teaching.
Today – although the sport, much like everything that has been put on hold by the covid-19 pandemic — is moving on to greater heights. At the National University campus in Laguna, the Inspire Academy, and Raya School will pioneer a futsal scholarship program for girls that will bring together fifteen of the best female futsal players ages 16-18 who will train exclusively under Hermans.
The ultimate target is to have a long term training program to support a core training pool of a futsal women’s team that will hopefully compete in the Southeast Asian Games, Youth Olympic Games, and ultimately, AFC competition.
Below is a video the Liga Eskwela Finals 2020
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