Tootoot-tootoot: You're off the team
I'VE learned in my few years as journalist that you only get an official statement when the barnyard dung hits the ceiling. So, I was pretty surprised when I read a statement from the PFF regarding the lineup for the former Paulino Alcantara Cup.
Let me backtrack a bit. Because of sore eyes, I've been absent the past few days and have been bored to death. So the other day, I bought a Capt. Jack Sparrow Star Craft installer and spent the better part of six hours playing. When I paused for a while, I checked Facebook, and read the PFF statement posted by Craig Burrows (how come I didn't get a copy, Craig?)
To be honest, it seemed OKish and I was even surprised why the PFF issued one. Then I read AKTV's story on Phil and James Younghusband getting left out of a tournament hosted at home.
A tournament, mind you, not just a home game. And so far, there haven’t been any word of other commitments of the brothers making them miss a game or two.
So, the first question is, do guys like Phil and James Younghusband have a right to expect to get a spot in the national team? Well, no one really does, but--and I don't think if the same hold true for James--for Phil? I think he's not being too overly hopeful if he expects a spot. He's our best striker by a mile and his replacements aren’t coming up with goals.
But expecting a spot and earning a spot are two different things. And based on the statement from the PFF, the brothers haven't earned it? Oh my,
From the PFF: "...we have asked the players to give their unequivocal commitment to participate fully in the preparations. Having greatly benefited from Suzuki Cup 2010, we expect our players to work harder than ever this year. Unfortunately, not everyone in the team could assure us of this; a few have already signified their unavailability for some crucial activities leading up to the tournament...we understand that family obligations and club/work commitments sometimes take precedence. The coaching staff will instead make adjustments in the game plan and in the roster of players, starting (with) the (FORMER PAULINO ALCANTARA) CUP."
And the first question of course, what about those guys based abroad who missed all those camps and training sessions? There's a world of difference, of course, about missing camp because of say, a local celebrity match, and of missing camp because you're in another camp or game with your club team in Europe, but still, it's about missing camp and training sessions.
Because based on the statement, the PFF is implying the players' presence in these camps is a requisite for making the team.
And is it? Perhaps, the next time the team management invite players for training camp, they should explicitly include in a written invitation--no text invitations please--that joining these camps is a requisite to making the cut. Perhaps, too, the Azkals management should also post attendance in practices/camps in their website and the reason for some missing these for transparency?
I don’t think it’s right to compare the situation of the two players to the players based abroad because they have different circumstances. Besides, if we start listening to our local starters saying, “Hey, how about them? They get to start without joining the camps.” We should also listen, too, to our local B players who say, “Hey, how about them? We bust our asses in practices and we get cut.”
Now as for the text rejection, I think that was a disservice. I'm not sure if this holds true for this tourney, but team lineups are usually announced during a team meeting after the final practice session and guys who make it or don't make it usually learn of their fate when the coach announces it, and sometimes, no explanation comes with it.
Phil, having been bailed as out more than a few times, doesn't deserve to learn second-hand he's off the team.
Now, some fans have bashed the team and management because of the move. Well, they’re entitled to their opinions. Some have said they won’t watch the Former Paulino Alcantara Cup and I guess they can do that, it’s their money to spend anyway.
But as to not supporting the team because two players are off it? I think even Phil and James would say that’s a wrong move.
I guess, in a way, it shows how some fans are still personality-driven, they haven’t made that leap yet. Some have been supporting the national team even before guys like Dan Palami were on it or before the Younghusband brothers were born. The new fans could learn from them—it’s the national team, and no matter who is on the lineup, it’s still the PHILIPPINE national team.
As for me, they can field an all-Ilonggo team and I’d give them 100 percent support even if these guys are the same players who’d rout Cebu’s best in national tourneys.
But I do have one question though (and let me just point out what the PFF said in its statement, it’s less than two months to go before the Suzuki Cup), “What the hell is happening there, guys?”