Todd Davey July 06, 2012
The Pinoy Streetcats Kanga Cup team from the Philippines, training at the Melba Playing Fields. Photo: Graham Tidy
Pinoy Football Streetcats will represent both the Philippines and Canberra during next week's Kanga Cup tournament.
Canberra FC masters player Sorin Clenci is almost single-handedly funding the team's trip to the ACT for the Cup.
Clenci struck up a relationship with the club during a visit to the Philippines in 2007.
After witnessing what he called the poor state of junior football in the country, he felt obliged to lend a hand.
''I was looking for someone to play football with and I bumped into some people over there,'' Clenci said.
''I saw how the scene over there was, it was quite grim, football is poorly organised.
''I thought I could probably help a bit … collect football gear and balls and all sorts of shoes and send them back to the Philippines, and that's how it all started.''
Now the team is set to take part in the largest junior football tournament in the southern hemisphere.
''He [Clenci] supported everything, for the preparation of the documentation … the accommodation, the plane tickets, everything,'' team manager Juanito Novencido said.
Despite the daunting prospect of playing football so far from home, Streetcats star Xander Ochie did not want to put any limits on what the team could achieve.
''It's up to us, win or lose,'' he said.
Clenci said the tournament would give the players not only a chance to further their skills, but better themselves as individuals.
''These kids will see the opportunity to improve themselves, also [they will] be able to interact with different people from other countries,'' he said.
''These kids most likely wouldn't have had the chance to leave the Philippines, but due to this opportunity they made it.''
The Kanga Cup kicks off on Sunday with a traditional opening ceremony and matches run through until Friday, July 13.