The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has approved the inclusion of the under-23 men’s football team for the Singapore Southeast Asian Games, an official from the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said last weekend.
PFF General Secretary Ed Gastanes said the team received confirmation last Thursday, marking the country’s return to the most anticipated event of the biennial sportfest following its absence two years ago in Myanmar.
“We’re happy with the sudden turn of events,” said Gastanes. “We’ve been in close coordination with the POC just to make sure that we will be able to send a team to the SEA Games.”
The PFF was supposed to field a team for the Myanmar conclave but its request was denied by the POC for failing to meet its criteria.
So frustrated with the decision then that PFF President Nonong Araneta threatened not to send a team in future meets.
But the PFF sang a different tune this time, hoping that their participation in Singapore will pay dividends.
Gastanes said that the team plans to include Azkals mainstays who are still eligible for the tournament, along with standouts from the United Football League and the collegiate leagues.
The team, also slated to play in next month’s AFC U-22 Championship qualifiers in Bangkok, Thailand, is being supervised Australian coach Jim Frasier and Marlon Maro.
Expected to give the Philippines fits in Singapore are defending champion Thailand, Malaysia and host Singapore.
Source : Tempo.com.ph