The Philippines will field its first football team composed of players afflicted with cerebral palsy in the Asean Para Games slated in the country beginning 20 March.
Known as the CP Rascals, the team was formed last year by the Henry V. Moran Foundation, a non-profit organization that has long focused on developing football programs for public school youth in the country.
The search for players started in March last year after the foundation, headed by Danny Moran, was appointed by the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled (Philspada) to form a team to represent the country in the 10th edition of the Para Games.
The foundation’s special football arm, CP Football Philippines, toured 12 cities and organized clinics and tryouts in cooperation with local government units. By July, players have been discovered and training began.
The CP Rascals currently has 12 members, with plans to add two more before the Games begins.
Moran said they are grateful for the support that private organizations have given the players and coaching staff. Among the supporters is insurer Allianz PNB Life which provides life, medical and travel insurance on top of financial assistance.
“Our main concern was life and accident insurance as bringing football to persons with disability has its risks, especially since training would be from three to six months,” Moran said.
This is not the first time that Allianz and the Henry V. Moran Foundation have worked together in promoting football. For the past three years, they have staged the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational, a grassroots football program held nationwide. Some of the kids who have participated in the program trained at the Allianz Explorer Camp in Germany under FC Bayern.
“It is our honor to support a team that embodies Allianz’ ideal of overcoming life’s challenges in fulfilling one’s dreams. We are giving our para athletes the support to help them achieve their goals in their chosen sport, and we are looking forward to cheering them on in the 2020 Asean Para Games,” Allianz PNB Life chief marketing officer Gae Martinez said.
Moran added it is their dream to continue strengthening the CP Rascals so that they can also participate next year in Vietnam.