4 nations competing in Asia 7s Football Championship starting April 21


THE first ever BPI AIA Asia 7s kick off Friday at the McKinley Hill Stadium with four countries competing—host Philippines, Brunei, India and Japan—in a single-round affair.

The top two squads will battle for the championship while the lower two squads figure in the clash for third place on Sunday.

“This tournament is about building dreams,” said Anton del Rosario, founder of the Philippines’ 7s Football League. “Who doesn’t want to represent their country through sports competition? The Asia 7s platform provides these communities to represent their country through seven-a-side football. I can’t wait to grow these dreams.”

“We’re very happy to extend the partnership across the AIA Philippines Group,” said Bernadette Chincuanco, Head of Branding and Communications of AIA Philippines. “This time around BPI AIA—our bancassurance arm—will come in and sponsor the Asia 7s international football tournament, bringing together the best of football not just from the Philippines but also from other countries to battle it out on the pitch.”

Chincuanco added: “Through this sponsorship, football becomes the platform through which we bring to life our Purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives.”

“The recent years have made people more aware and realize the importance of their health and many have started to make better choices to improve their lifestyles,” said Mika Calixterio, Partnership Marketing Principal of BPI AIA.

“We’ve seen more and more people reigniting their love for sports or even trying out new ones,” Calixterio said. “By partnering with Anton and his team, we hope that we can emphasize our advocacy and commitment to help Filipinos live healthier, longer, better lives; and further localize the AIA group’s support for football through BPI AIA’s participation as the newest member of the AIA and 7s partnership family.” 

According to India’s playing coach Aniketh Kesarkar, the Indian league has been active for quite some time. 

“This is not our first time to be participating internationally,” Kesarkar said. “We took part in a tournament in Guatemala six years ago and this will be our second.”

“We currently have a national league with 24 teams associated with us,” Kesarkar said. “In fact, we have more talent in 7s football than 11-a-side.”

The Japanese team provides a mixture of professionals and amateurs.

“Expectations for the team are high,” said Japan’s Brazilian head coach Keller Costa despite fielding a squad that is a mix of former professional players and amateur ones. “We are here to win it.”

Brunei is fielding a new team and is looking to not only gain experience, but also to put up a good show.

“This is a great opportunity for us to represent ourselves and our country,” Brunei coach Rashid Zakaria said. “We might have a new team, but we will give it our all.”

As for the host nation, del Rosario is keeping his cards close to his chest.

“You’ll see some familiar faces,” he teased about the lineup.

The BPI AIA Asia 7s is also sponsored by 7×7, TapGo TV that will be televising the entire tournament on the digital streaming platform of the same name, Blaze Athletics and Mansion Sports Bar & Lounge.

Read full article on BusinessMirror