Showing posts from October, 2012

Fair Play: Wanted, Phil Younghusband at his best

A FIT Phil is a very dangerous player, he can create a lot of scoring opportunities."

That's what Dan Palami said during the press conference for the Philippines vs. Singapore match the other day in Cebu.

Azkals in Aboitiz Cup opening

THE 15th Aboitiz Football Cup will have a grand launch with heavyweight guests after Philippine men’s football team manager Dan Palami promised that he and the members of the Azkals will join the opening festivities on Nov. 11 at the Aboitiz Sports Field.

Palami, Philippine Football Federation legal counsel and acting secretary-general Ed Castanes, met members of the Cebu Football Association (CFA) for the signing of the memorandum of agreement for Cebu’s hosting of the Nov. 15 friendly between the Philippines and Singapore at the Cebu City Sports Center.

A few random thoughts after Dan's latest Cebu trip

DAN Palami flew over Cebu again, and, just like in previous visits, he's never alone, and he always got something interesting.

Last June, he was with the German goalkeeper coach and of course, that trip resulted to Cebu hosting the Nov. 15 friendly.

This time around? He's with Atty. Ed Gastanes and with a lot of good news. The biggest one of course is the greater than average chance of the Philippines hosting the finals of the AFC Challenge Cup.  Though everyone, it seems, sent a bid, the Philippines, after submitting its entry, got quite a spirited response from the AFC and our tropical climate could also be an advantage--the finals will be in March, 2014, the start of our summer season and for the other competing countries, their winter season.

Fair Play: A homecoming match for Ray

UNLESS there are changes, there's no Stephen Shrock, Neil Etherdige or Angel Aldeguer--all Cebu favorites—for the Nov. 15 friendly against Singapore at the Cebu City Sports Center.  Angel is in India, while Neil is currently on loan with the Bristol Rovers until Christmas and Schrock, of course, is playing in the Bundesliga.

Knowing how Dan Palami operates, I know if the team insisted, they could have gotten the three for the friendly, as  is a Fifa-calendared match. But in the past, the team usually foregoes inviting these players for a one-day friendly, hoping that that move would lead the clubs to be more willing to release them for important tournaments, like the Suzuki Cup, which isn't on the Fifa calendar.

But who's coming though?

Let's help an Azkal fan fulfill her dreams

When I got the copy of the e-mail from the PFF for the AFF Suzuki Cup contest for fans, I promised to support whoever I know will join the contest.  I joined a similar contest for football stories in April, 2010 --with the winner going to the 2010 World Cup.  I made it to third place for that Asia-wide contest, and there
were no facebook/twitter fan support then (I like to think what I wrote deserved third place).

So fellow Pinoy football fans--and to the few Azkals who stray on this page--let's support Rica Anaa Aquino in her quest to win the Suzuki Ultimate Fan contest. It takes three clicks--first you have to like the Suzuki Cup fan contest,
and go to "view and vote" and vote on her entry entitled, A Fan, A supporter."

Remember, the Azkals became the Azkals because of social media, so, let's support a fellow fan.  The link is here

A publicity stunt to save the UFL

This is a copy of Nomads coach Michael Denison's resignation letter.

Dear all.

I have been involved with football for over 40 years. Most of that time at a reasonable level. So I think I know what I am talking about.

There is  no doubt that Loyola are a fantastic team and play wonderful football. They deserved to win and congratulations.

Fair Play: It's a date, Nov. 15

EVERYTHING that can be possibly done is being done by the Cebu Football Association to make the Nov. 15 friendly a huge success.  The group, led by Engr. Ricky Dakay, has spent more than P2 million for the event, and that doesn't even include the improvements of the locker and shower rooms of the Cebu City Sports Center, or the billeting of the teams.

The guys at the CFA have met countless times to go over the minor details, ever since they had that dinner date with Dan Palami last June, when a casual conversation led to Cebu hosting its first international football friendly.

PFF names 35-man pool for Suzuki Cup

THOUGH it is still unsure if he can get a release from Bristol Rovers, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has been included in the 35-man training pool for the 2012 Suzuki Cup.

The Philippine Football Federation released its list of 35 players, which will be trimmed to 22 for the final submission of lineup for the tournament.

Etheridge is currently on loan to the Bristol Rovers until December.  Also included in the lineup is Stephen Schrock, whose stint in the Suzuki Cup is also not sure, while U23 members Joshua Beloya and Mark Hartmann of Loyola also made the lineup.

SHS-Ateneo, DBC make case for nat'l tourney

The Milo Little Olympics may be like a national competition--with regional eliminations--like the Palarong Pambansa, but unlike the DepED meet, it's not the battle of the best players, but that of the best schools.

Teams are not allowed to get reinforcement from eliminated schools for the next phase, as is the practice in the DepEd meets, so, as the cliche goes, you're only as strong as your weakest link.

PR: Search for the ultimate Asean football fan

Do you want to win the latest gadgets and other goodies? Read on.  I hope the Philippine online football community will back all Pinoy entries in this contest---ML

Singapore, 24 October 2012: Southeast Asian football fans have a passion for the game that is like nowhere else in the world.

They bring a vibrancy and intensity to the sport that alights the senses and makes the AFF Suzuki Cup such an incredible tournament.

Final words on the PFF 'hazing incident'

(This should have been posted last week, but I decided to post it after the Azkals friendlies and the AFC U19 tourney----ML)

EVER since I got wind of the hazing incident involving former PFF secretary general and NCRFA president Atty. Rolly Tulay, I've been trying to get more details of the incident, which InterAKTV reported, led to Atty. Tulay's resignation.

I tried calling Atty. Tulay, but my call--and a text message explaining the call--were ignored.

Fair Play: Coach Michael Weiss beyond 2012

GERMAN coach Hans Michael Weiss's coaching contract with the Philippines will end in January, 2013, but that doesn't mean his program and vision for Philippine football will end on that month, too.

In fact, he's looking way beyond 2013—the Asian Cup, 2015.

Whether he gets a contract extension or not, he's working on the assumption that he will still be the coach in the next two years because even if the PFF decides to get a new coach, the preparation will be there.

Fair Play: Bring home the belt, AJ

THE first time I saw AJ Banal fight for a world title, I thought he was going to become one of the youngest world champions in the world.

He was only 19 years old, and with 17 wins and 1 draw against a foe who was 10-2-1, the WBA super flyweight title  seemed his on that fateful day on July 26, 2008, and the packed crowd at the Cebu Coliseum seemed privileged to witness the crowning of a new champion.

Fair Play: We need more foes like Kuwait

That was one heck of a match, a roller-coaster ride played in such a frenetic pace that even if we lost against the same team that booted us out in the World Cup qualifiers last year, you couldn't help but be impressed with how the team played.

Kuwaiti's pace was unbelievable for the whole 90 minutes plus change, but what was even more impressive? We kept up with them for the whole time and the defense was patient, there were no, as some critics love to point out, long balls to ease the pressure on them.

All those camps sure helped improve the team's conditioning, they are not just road shows.

CFA hopes to engineer successful Azkals hosting

MEMBERS of the Cebu Football Association (CFA) are using their experience in the construction business to pull off one of the biggest project the CFA has in years--hosting the Nov.  15 friendly between the Philippines and Singapore at the Cebu City Sports Center.

The friendly--the first to be hosted by Cebu--serves as the final tuneup for both teams before the Suzuki Cup.

Fair Play: PSC, DepED please get your acts together

THE Batang Pinoy was revived, after a seven-year hiatus, to help discover new talents among the thousands of athletes, who would otherwise, be left out in the various NSAs scouting teams--if they have one.

Now just on its second year, the athletes who are to be discovered, will learn one of the ills in Philippines sports--the inability of sports officials to think of the bigger picture.

The Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet will be on Dec. 2 to 7 in Dumaguete City, while the Batang Pinoy will be in Iloilo City, on the same days.

We just drew Bahrain and it was beautiful

Let's be honest here, going into the game against Bahrain, who among you expected to win it?

I certainly didn't, not because I have no faith in the team, but simply because of two facts going into the match--we were playing a No. 115 team in their own court and we were fielding, what basically is a squad that hasn't played together in months as it was an entirely different lineup from the Peace Cup.

Fair Play: POC, PFF should probe hazing allegations

DURING a break in the press conference for the Smart Club championships last Oct. 5, tournament director Cyril Dofitas said that for the coaches meeting, he will just invite coaches and managers, nobody else.

"Ang iba dyan,they'd bring lawyers," he said. "We don't need lawyers in football, we need coaches and managers."

Then CFA's Raffy Musni quipped, "Is that why Atty. Tulay resigned?"

Of heartbeats and hazing

"If we get the call-up, we'll be there. We'd be there in a heartbeat."

That's what Phil and James Younghusband said when they weren't called up for Peace Cup, where the Philippines ended its 99-year title drought in international football.

Now that the team has called the brothers for a camp and friendly in Bahrain, they couldn't make it because of prior commitments? Tsk. Tsk.

What happened to "We'd be there in a heartbeat?"

Fair Play: Time for Ricky D, Ricky B to make a stand

MINUTES before extra time in the Cesafi finals, I, a USC fan, told Bro. Mari Aberasturi, a member of the USJ-R coaching staff, "May the best team win!" We didn't get to talk much after shaking hands because a minute after extra time,  Junjun Pintuan, that luckless striker who kept misfiring in regulation, got a lovely pass and beat three defenders for the lone goal of the match.

A match that was witnessed by thousands of screaming spectators. The most I've seen since covering Cebu football in 1997. A match that speaks well of the football community in Cebu--two great teams in one great final.

Jaguars rule Cesafi

AFTER misfiring for most of the match, Junjun Pintuan finally broke through in extra time to lead former champion University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars to the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. college football crown, 1-0, over the University of San Carlos at the packed Cebu City Sports Center last night.

Earlier, Pintuan had at least four great chances to get the Jaguars past the Warriors, but he was foiled once by USC keeper Leonard Tan, while a mistimed header and a poorly taken chip failed to challenge Tan.

PFF, Smart launch 'bigger, better club championships'

THE Philippine Football Federation and Smart Communications, Inc. launched the PFF Smart National Club championship in Cebu yesterday, hoping to duplicate the strong turnout during its initial staging last year.

"There was really a strong response when we held it in Cagayan de Oro last year," said Smart Sports manager Epok Quimpo, who said the games in Cagayan attracted a full stadium almost daily.

Leveling up time for the Azkals

AFTER facing our Southeast Asian neighbors in a few friendlies, and winning the Peace Cup, the Philippine men's team is about to level up with two friendlies against Bahrain and Kuwait in its Middle East training camp next month.

Kuwait was the team that booted us out of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, and though it has dropped 12 places in the latest rankings, it is still at 112th in the world and 13th in Asia, quite a long ways from the Philippines (147, 21).  Bahrain has dropped three places but is at 115th and 15th.

Back read 2010: "All it takes is one visionary" by Villaflor

(This column by Noel S. Villaflor was published on Sun.Star Cebu on Aug. 8, 2010
ON a warm Saturday morning on an unkempt patch of grass, dozens of Cebuano children had an experience of a lifetime: being trained by members of the Philippine Men’s National Team in a free football clinic.

Team manager Dan Palami brought five core players—including team captain Ali Borromeo and Emilio Caligdong—to help development organization Global Exchange with its signature campaign to send millions of children to school through football.
(Foto taken from the FB wall of Dr. Joel Pascual)

“The Men’s National Team is aware of its social responsibilities,” said Palami, who spends his own fortune in running the national team.

Asked why he does it, the unassuming president of the Leyte Football Association said: “I’ve always felt that the private sector should be involved.”

Palami’s dedication to the sport is beyond question, as he runs the team like a professional club.

Right now, the team’s energies are geared…

We are the CHAMPIONS!!!

Bahala'g yabag, basta champion. (Thanks to Francisco Villamor III) for the video.

Let there be peace, please, after Peace Cup?

IT SEEMS there's a brewing conflict between the Philippine men's team management and the UFL clubs, and perhaps, even the league.

You can read it based on team owners tweets, or, you can even read it from Loyola Meralco Sparks Al Panilio's statement to Inquirer columnist Beth Celis, "I'm not happy with the way they are running the national team."

Why isn't he happy?