National Football Club Championship kicks off August 22

MANILA, Philippines -The Philippine Football Federation announced the launch of the 2014 National Football Club Championship in a press conference at their headquarters in Pasig on Tuesday, August 19.

First introduced in 2011 through the partnership between the PFF and Smart Communications, the nationwide amateur football meet is held yearly where local talents showcase their skills to improve the level of play among the football associations under the federation.

Thirty-eight different clubs from around the country will vie for the national championship plum which will kick-off on Friday, August 22 with the cluster qualifier round in the eight designated regions, namely West Mindanao, North Mindanao, Central Mindanao, East Mindanao, National Capital Region, North Luzon, Central Luzon and South Luzon.

Winners of the cluster round will be included in the group qualifier stage where they will face the five seeded teams from the football associations of Iloilo, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Leyte.

Also, the group qualifiers, which will be held in the Visayas region, will house the two-time national champions Ceres-La Salle Football Club.

The clubs that emerge victorious in the group qualifiers in Visayas will be divided into two groups for national group stage that will include top United Football League clubs Kaya, Loyola and reigning champs Global.

The top two clubs from the two groups will play in the crossover semis, the winners of which will play in the final to held at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

According to PFF tournaments department head Cyril Dofitas, the competition will also serve as a place where the federation can discover fresh talents who can potentially become members of the national squad.

“The development of grassroots football in the Philippines is always a top priority for the PFF, for this is where we discover more talents that can represent the country in the world stage,” he asserted.

Amani Aguinaldo, who plays center back for Global FC and a national team standout, is one of the notable products of the previous editions of the PFF-Smart Club National Championship.

PFF General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes believes competitions like this will help boost the budding football scene in the country. 

“This is a big help to Philippine football because you get to involve the players, the member associations, the coaches, and the referees.  As you know, we are preparing all these teams because in two-three years we will be launching a national league that will be professional in nature,” he said. - Rappler.com