IN keeping with the times, youth football is now turning to modern technology.
Youth Football League (YFL) president Mike Atayde believes this is one way to keep the young players interested in the sport, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“What are we are doing now is to keep them (youth) interested. One option we are looking is the e-games,” said Atayde during last Thursday’s Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) “Usapang Sports on Air” via Zoom with livestreamiing at YouTube and Facebook.
“We have no choice. With the current stuation, the best way to avoid the virus is to stay home. Pero hindi dahil nasa bahay lang ang mga bata, hindi na nila maipagpapatuloy ang kanilang hilig na maglaro sa football,” added Atayde in the weekly forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commisison (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
“I think we can have a lot of kids participating in an onliine-type league, like the FIBA. We are tapping the same people who have done it before to help us,” he explained.
“Basketball and tennis and other sports have used this new platform and they are very successful. It’s turn of youth football.”
Asked about the plan to hold an online youth football tournament, Atayde said:
“By August, baka makapag umpisa na kami. Magpa-liga pa din kami pero online.”
Atayde claimed young players today are learning a lot with the help of the technology.
“Sa FIFA, highly technical na din. Natututo ang mga bata ng new startegy sa panonood dito. They learn a lot of the aspects of the sports. Minsan nga, yun pinakamagaling na player sa actual game pagdating sa e-games, iba na.”
“Mabuti na ito kesa maglaro ang mga bata ng mga violent or war-related games sa internet."
Atayde, however, said they will introduce several innovations.
“We will have a separate approach to it. We are putting a new category for e-games participants. We will allow two players per team, but they have to altenate playing home and away. I believe we would be able to accomodate 92 players based on this format.
“We will also divide it to 12-under, 13-17, and 18-older. More or less they will play against their age group.”
Atayde admitted the only hitch now is how to generate revenue to cover the cost of such competitions.
"We're about done with the detail. It's just a matter of figuring out how to generate revenue to recover the cost."
Atayde admitted the current health crisis is affecting everybody.
"Malaki ang tama nitong COVID. May mga ginagawa naman tayong paraan para maka-agapay sa mga kasama natin, pero hindi natin inaasahan na magiging ganito kahaba,” said Atayde.
“We encourage our coaches and officials to look for alternative na hanapbuhay at huwag lang umasa sa football. Yun iba, OK ang revenue dahil may online training.”
"Ang maganda naman dahil sa techology, yun mga coaches natin nag-cope dahil sa mga zoom training. Kung masigasig yun coach mag-train, kahit mga 20 bata kaya sa zoom session. Minsan one on one pa nga.”