The Philam Life 7s Football League successfully completed its 3rd season last Sunday, May 12, 2019, at the McKinley Hill Stadium with Ghana FC and Outkast FC emerging as champions in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.
Ghana displayed a solid performance on their final assignment to come out as 3-1 winners and put an end to the Super Eagles’ domination in the men’s division for the past two seasons.
Emmanuel Mbata and Daniel Ashley’s goals in the first half added by a third courtesy of Junior Sam proved to be enough for Ghana to show their superiority as the dethroned defending champions can only muster a goal through Emmanuel Sylvernus.
Meanwhile, Outkast FC completed a comeback to win 2-1 in the inaugural women’s division over Stallion-Hiraya FC.
Women’s National Team head coach Let Dimzon and Loreta Ladero scored for Outkast in either half to cancel out Hiraya’s opener via Aiza Mondero.
In between the men’s and women’s championship matches, Team World dominated Team Philippines in the 7s All-Star match with a 5-0 scoreline.
Simultaneously that day, championships in the youth divisions were also held where Sugod (U5), Sugod A (U7) and Bohemian SC (U9) were determined as champions.
The league’s strengths: Youth and Women
Though it is a fact that the men’s senior division is the league’s current main elite-level showcase for fans to witness in a seven-a-side format, the tournament’s promise and strength lie mostly in the women’s and youth/grassroots divisions.
Former Azkals defender and 7s Football League founder Anton del Rosario’s visionary tournament, slowly but surely, is delivering in its aim to provide a platform for, and develop players and talents for a much higher level of football, not just in Metro Manila but also, nationwide with its previously concluded Bacolod and Davao editions.
The introduction of the women’s tournament this season could reinforce the development of women’s football in general, as it could pave the way for elite and promising talents to further their skills in a competitive setting in addition to the limited scope and durations of the PFF Women’s Football League and the collegiate tournaments that could benefit the women’s national teams from the juniors to the senior squads.
From a grassroots/youth level, young athletes are introduced to organized football, developing their abilities through participation in a competitive setup without the unnecessary intricacies and complications of an 11-a-side format – a situation conducive for young footballers in their early development which can also be an avenue for finding talents for Philippines’ junior national teams.
Possibilities that could help propel PH football
Though most of the focus of the 7s Football League still lies in Metro Manila, the fact that it already ignited the Visayas (Bacolod) and Mindanao (Davao) legs, such branching off of the tournament could pave way for a national championship in the near future where respective champions of each region can face up in a “winners’ league” to determine a “grand champion”.
But like any other new leagues, having such an inter-connected and nationwide scope as a tournament is not yet realistic, but more of a possibility, at this point in time as challenges that need to be conquered still lie ahead. Some of which are connecting to the masses and creating a solid fanbase, which would also require the efforts of the participating clubs, given the fact that football is still very much a niche sport in the country.
Despite such, the 7s Football League’s positive aspect in the way that its progress is unfolding and, at the same time, helping the growth of the sport in the country far outweighs such concerns for now.
On a bigger scheme of things, including the men’s division, one of its major contributions worthy of mentioning is providing startup clubs a means to participate in a competitive and organized (not to mention televised) environment that would aid their progress, as well as be a more active participant in the larger football community in the country. Excellent examples of this are the participation of Tondo FC, a revived Bohemian SC, and Payatas FC where they could duke it out and test their mettle against 7s teams of more established clubs such as Ceres, Stallion, and Kaya.
Whether this state of the competition as a whole has been part of the 7s Football League’s plans from its inception, the fact that its current growth is opening up avenues that could help Philippine Football from a developmental viewpoint is something that really makes this league already commendable in just its three seasons of existence.
Its impact and still to be discovered potential, whether the organization is already aware of it or not, has already been starting in its contribution to the local football scene from the grassroots all the way to the elite and (even up to) the professional level.
Now these are what makes the 7s Football League Season 3 deserving of such sincere congratulations.