Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fair Play: Why are they not in the team?

WHEN the lineup for one of the national teams was released, a few questions were raised, why is Mr. So and So not in the squad?

Well, here’s news for you brother. He’s not good enough?

It may be weird to some why players who made the U21 are no longer in the U22, or those good enough for the U23, are no longer in the U22, but sometimes, the reason is obvious.

Availability, of course, is one factor. Some of the players may have commitments, but if they are based here and are not in the team and you think (or they think) they are good enough, why then are they not in the squad?

Perhaps, they may have an extra baggage deemed too heavy that could drag the team? Or perhaps they simply failed when they got the chance.

Take the case of one player, who, when told by the coach to suit up in the final five minutes of an away match, got too scared and actually told the coach,”, he is doing too well, let him play.”  And it was a kind of substitution that you’d rarely see in an international match, so…

Or, when informed practices would be at 6 a.m., Player B said, “6 O’clock?” and balked at having to wake up early.

Or, it could be that when they were included in the lineup, and their commitment to their schools were done, they failed to show up, when needed.

And as a coach, if the difference between skills is not that great, coaches tend to go with the good guy, over the great guy because the wrong attitude can kill a team.

One time, I asked a coach why he didn’t pick a good player for the team (not a national squad) and his facial reaction said it all.  He’d rather go for the hardworking above average player than go for the one who thinks he’s god’s gift to football but doesn’t work for it.

So to those asking why you’re favorite players aren’t in the U22?  Well, I think the answer lies between the tweets.

The U22, unlike the U23 last year, is going to be armed to the teeth when they take on Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and Chinese Taipei in the 2013 AFC U22 qualifiers in Myanmar next month.

All those teams are favored to beat us but one thing this U22 team has in its favor is the debacle of the U23 in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, which fell face first to the canvas amidst all the hype.

And all those criticisms about ill preparations and the lack of friendlies?  Aside from playing the UFL teams, they’re going to have friendlies in Thailand and a Japanese and goalkeeping coach will also be coming over for a camp in San Carlos City, the hometown of coach John Carmona, who will be assisted by Glenn Ramos and Dave Gerali of Don Bosco.

And keep in mind that this U22 team, some of whom played in the U21 in the Bolkiah Trophy, will be our representatives in next year’s Southeast Asian Games.

FREDDY’S BACK!  One of the best news I heard lately was Freddy Gonzales getting called up for the national team, again. Before the Azkals success, Freddy was the lone source of pride for Pinoy fans for being the first—and only—Pinoy to play professionally in Vietnam.

I got to exchange a few e-mails with him in 2004, for the Tiger Cup and he said he had to skip the event as he was getting married.  With Freddy on that squad, what could they have accomplished?

But it’s great, though, that the former star striker has the right attitude going to camp, saying he’s under no illusions and is very surprised by the call considering he just returned to the sport a few months ago.

Two other players, I hear, who are trying to work their way back to the team are Arnie Pasenabo and Michael Casas, formerly of the Carmen boys.

Last time, I saw Arnie, he was a tad too wide and too slow, but now, I’ve heard he’s gotten back in shape.  Here’s a guy, who, if not for a couple of inches, could have made the play of the SEAG in 2005, with his box to box move against Thailand about five minutes from time.

Casas is Casas and this guy can make ridiculous saves as Myanmar learned to their disadvantage in that 0-0 draw in the 2007 AFF Championships in Vietnam. I remember that game got us in the Fifa website for the first time.

I hope these guys get their second chances, they sure deserve it.

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