MANILA – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the presence of Filipino-foreign players in the national women’s football team which made history by advancing to the 2023 FIFA World Cup next year.
In fact, the entry of these foreign-bred, foreign-trained Filipino players with dual citizenship made a big difference in the sporting scene.
Philippine Ladies Football Association (PLFA) founding president Cristy Ramos is one of the staunch advocates of this new trend in sports.
“I think it made the big difference not only in women’s football, but in all sports. It’s very positive. It does add some dynamism to sports,” Ramos said during her special appearance recently at the “Sports On Air” program via Zoom.
“We are able to take advantage of the talents from abroad. Hindi lang naman sa sports pero even sa Miss Universe at ibang (Not only in sports but even in Miss Universe and other) beauty pageants,” said Ramos, who also served as the only female president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) from 1996 to 1999.
“Ngayon legally, pwede na magkaroon ng Fil-foreigners. Ang proof lang ay kailangan ng (Now, legally, Fil-foreigners are allowed. They just need to present proof), Philippine passport for those living abroad, and when they come here, they can still retain their foreign citizenship. Ganun din naman ginagawa ng ibang bansa, like sa France, Germany or Africa. Maraming players ang mixed ang heritage or parentage (Other countries like France, Germany or Africa also do the same. They have many players with mixed heritage or percentage),” she added.
Continue grassroots sports development
Ramos, however, reminded fellow sports officials to continue their grassroots sports development program and discover and train new talents.
“Pero nakalulungkot din na (But it’s sad also that) some sports officials now overly rely on foreign-based talents for shortcuts instead of looking for from talents in the countryside,” said Ramos, who served as skipper of the national women’s football team from 1980 to 1986.
With over 100 million population in the country, she said sports officials need not look for talents abroad.
“Pumunta lang tayo sa mga probinsya, (Just go the provinces) develop the young talents we have, nourish them and give them good training hanggang tumanda (until they become mature),” she said.
“So while I’m saying there’s nothing wrong in getting talented Fil-foreign players, gusto ko pa din suportahan natin yun mga homegrowns. Alagaan natin (I want also to support our homegrowns. Nurture them) from elementary, high school at college hanggang maging (until they become) eligible to play at the senior levels,” she added.
Ramos, also the captain of the Edward Magallona-led squad at the 1981 AFC Women’s Championship, said the national sports associations (NSAs) should emphasize local development.
The outspoken but purpose-driven daughter of former President Fidel V. Ramos also hopes that the foreign-based talents of the national team can find time to visit the countryside and share their talents.
“Napag-usapan nga maganda itong mga nangyari sa women’s football team natin, lalo na nandyan na sila sa FIFA Women’s World Cup. Napakalaking achievements yun. Pero sana itong mga foreign-based national players natin dalhin sa mga probinsya para magturo. Mas maganda ang magiging connection nila sa ating mga bata. Right now, ang nangyayari babalik na sila sa mga bansa nila (They said what happened in women’s football is good, especially thay they qualified in FIFA Women’s World Cup. That’s a great achievement. But our foreign-based national players should be brought to the province to teach football. They will have connection to children. Right now, what will happen is they will return to their countries) if they are based in US or Europe,” she said. (PR)