Yanson eyes future Azkals from NOFA grassroots tourney

FOOTBALL has consistently growing in Negros Occidental.

And on its second year, the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) staged the 2017 NOFA 12 and Under Invitational Cup last May 3-7 – expecting to bring the best players in the age-group.

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CEREMONIAL KICK OFF. NOFA president Ricky Yanson (center) leads the ceremonial kickoff of the 12 and Under Invitational Cup at Sta. Maria Football Fields in Talisay City. Joining Yanson are (from left) Nonong Verdeflor – representing Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. and Benjie Torre for Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

“Our purpose here is to develop players who will soon be the next Azkals. Moreover, we are trying to reach out other provinces in the country and not only in Negros Occidental and Bacolod to be part of this program,” said NOFA president Ricky Yanson. He also reminded the coaches to enjoy, gain friends and develop camaraderie. “Winning is just secondary,” he added.

In this year’s event, 18 teams from across the country have converged at the Sta. Maria football field in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

teamsOn his part, provincial sports coordinator Angel ‘Nonong’ Verdeflor relayed Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr.’s message that young players like them should be given the opportunity to display their ability in football.

Verdeflor stressed that they are still young and it will come to pass. He reminded the players to hard and not rough, and have to be disciplined and enhance their mastery in this sport.

Green Global claims title

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Green Global in posterity after winning the championship title. Also in photo is NOFA president Ricky Yanson and Negros Occidental sports coordinator Nonong Verdeflor.

During the finals, Negros Occidental-based Green Global team outplayed visiting Barotac team, 2-0 to capture this year’s title.

Jefferson Tolimao gave the champions the lead in the early minutes of the march with a lobbied shot past Barotac keeper Jairon Guzman.

Green Global became more aggressive on their offense but, the Ilonggos held their defense from midfield and push for some counter attacks.

Having the 1-0 advantage, Green Global tried to take control of the match however, Barotac refused to give in and fought hard – earning them couple of free kicks.

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Individual awardees with NOFA president Ricky Yanson (left) and Nonong Verdeflor (right).

Eventual ‘best midfielder’ Francis Botavara got several opportunities for Barotac but his attempts was well-read by tournament’s ‘golden gloves’ awardee Jan Diolo – who played like a pro during the age-group finals.

Just minutes before the final whistle, MVP Lance Locsin defeated five Barotac defenders zigzagging towards the front of Guzman and launched the winning goal for Green Global.

Green Global’s Eduardo Artaba was board ‘best striker’ with 11 goals in the tournament.

Settled for 2nd runner-up is One La Salle after beating Don Bosco Cebu, 3-1 in the battle for third.*

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