Wednesday, October 31, 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.

But do we have a fit Phil Younghusband in the lineup, one who got the Golden Boot in the Challenge Cup?

"The fittest that I’ve seen Phil was in the Challenge Cup and he is not at that level at this time," Dan said.  

Of course, we know what happened in the Challenge Cup, when we won our first major trophy and the Phil got the Golden Boot.

As of now, Phil, and his brother James, are playing catch up with the rest of the team in terms of fitness, and they'd better do it fast.

Because whichever side of the brothers vs. Azkals debate you sit, one thing is certain, Phil, at his best, is an asset to the team.  

So, what are our chances in the Suzuki Cup.

Though acknowledging that we will be fielding the best team ever, Dan said luck could play a factor.  “It’s very difficult to say, because sometimes you can dominate in terms of ball possession and in the final play, you’d hit the post or the shot goes to the keeper.  It also comes into play,” he said.

“There is cautious optimism because anything can happen also.”

Aside from conducting camps, which Dan credited have really raised the level of fitness of the squad, the Philippine Football Federation, is also sending technical director Aries Caslib to Hanoi and Bangkok early next week to scout the Vietnam vs. Malaysia match on Nov. 3 and Thailand vs. Malaysia on Nov. 7 in Bangkok.

The PFF has named its initial list of 35 players for the Suzuki Cup and Dan expects those who will play in the Nov. 15 to make the final 22-man cut, along with those in Europe who couldn’t make it like Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena. 

As for Chris Greatwich, Dan said it’s getting very difficult for one of the very first Pinoys based abroad to get back in the team, saying that since 2010, he was only able to train with the team during their US Camp.

“We have nine players for four midfield positions,” he said. “The team is really playing as a team right now and we are all excited.”

ANOTHER ONE. “If we are successful, we’d like to host another friendly,” Cebu Football Association president Ricky Dakay said during the press con. 

And do you know what will determine if the friendly is a success? It won’t be the scoreline, but fan reception.

So, let’s make it a success.

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