Allianz Philippines recently brought three young Filipino football players to Munich to experience training with World Cup champions FC Bayern.
Marian Vista of Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Foundation in Luzon, Ralf Andre Ebuna of Corpus Christi FC in Mindanao, and Jodi Mari Banzon of Cebu Elite FC in the Visayas joined teenagers from 22 other countries in the Allianz Explorer Camp-Football Edition in Germany.
“Allianz has always been a staunch advocate of football development from the grassroots level. We want to discover talent from different areas across the country and give them the opportunity to excel on the world stage. For three years now, we have partnered with the Henry V. Moran Foundation for the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitational (ANYFI), a football competition that allows us to draft deserving kids that we will send to the Allianz Explorer Camp,” said Allianz Philippines Chief Marketing Officer Gae Martinez, who accompanied the Filipino teens to their trip to Germany.
The Allianz Explorer Camp-Football Edition is now on its 11th year. It was previously known as Allianz Junior Football Camp. It is part of the global Allianz Explorer Camp initiative that aims to bring together football fans from around the world and promote intercultural ex-change.
The theme for this year was “Captains of the Future” and focused on three aspects—Dreams, Courage, and Purpose.
“Allianz believes that kids today are the ‘captains of the future.’ The global explorer programs in the recent Munich camp were conducted through on-ground and digital activations, and crowd-generated content platforms that call out to curious minds all over the world to explore, connect, and co-create with them ideas to drive a more sustainable humanity.” Martinez explained.
This year’s camp saw the teens undergo training sessions at the Säbener Strasse. Bayern legend Klaus Augenthaler refereed a number of their games. On their finals match, Bayern pro Thiago Alcantara oversaw the proceedings and welcomed their questions and requests.
The young football players also had the opportunity to listen to the insights of pro surfer Valeska Schneider; Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, who competed for the refugee team in the 2016 Summer Olympics; National Graphic Explorer’s Dan Raven-Ellison; and Felix Finkbeiner, founder of the Plant for the Planet initiative. They also enjoyed a trip around Munich.
“The most memorable moment I witnessed is meeting different people from different coun-tries. It was fun to speak and meet new people from time to time,” said 16-year-old Ebuna, who started playing football when he was eight years old.
Asked what he can advise kids who would also like to join the Allianz Explorer Camp-Football edition, the Grade 10 student said: “I would say they should grab the opportunity if they can and remember to always have fun when playing football.”
“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the Allianz Explorer Camp,” Ebuna added.
Thirteen-year-old Banzon, meanwhile, said that she learned a lot during their time in Munich.
“My experiences during the camp was learning how to surf, how to find my dream, where to find my courage, what is my purpose here on earth as a captain of the future, and how I communicate with other people from other places,” she said.
Banzon added that she made new friends from different countries, learned basic words from other languages, and played ping pong with her new-found friends.
“The most fun experiences I had was traveling, riding the bus of FC Bayern team, training and playing soccer where the FC Bayern team practices, learning about the Allianz Arena, buying jerseys, bracelets, magnets, etc. in the FC Bayern Fan Shop, and lastly, the last night where we all gathered up and sang ‘We are the Champions’,” Banzon shared.