Friday, February 22, 2013

Fair Play: A thousand words from half a picture


WHEN coach Michael Weiss picked his team for the Myanmar friendly, I was pretty surprised with some of the names in there considering that a few weeks before that, we read about how the was batting for local talent to be in the team.

Sure there were locals in the team, but they weren’t exactly local talents, and I’m not talking about the Filipino-Europeans who are already based here. Guys in their mid-30s still in the squad and guys who said they were getting ready to retire from the international game still in there?


That lineup got fans to think and question whether the national coaching staff is scouting locals.

It turns out they were, at least that’s what I got from my interview with Coach Michael Weiss.  The final lineup for the Myanmar game was just half the story, the other half was that of local players who get invited to the pool but didn’t show up. Coach Weiss told me about one player--and his name stood out because it seems I had the same reaction with coach Weiss when I learned of his complaint. The player said that he’d just go back to his club because he wasn’t going to get fielded in the national team.

Dude, there are players who work their butt off for a year and you expect a starting spot handed to you after just one training camp?

He also mentioned a few players who left camp without bothering to inform the staff. Coach Weiss said he was in the bus when he asked about the whereabouts of the three and he was told that they left, without bothering to inform the staff.

Now that’s a bit of a concern and I won’t readily dismiss them, since we only have half the story. Whatever the rest of the story is, it’s interesting—do these players have issues against the coaching staff? Or do they simply not have the heart for a camp?

Player selection is always a testy subject, as unless everybody makes the pool, there’s always that one guy who we think should be in there over that guy who shouldn’t be.

Back when Aries Caslib took over the squad in 2004, I remember hearing a few complaints from former members who said the San Beda guys have taken over as the former coach, who also handled San Beda, took some of his players.

In a way, coaches are allowed that.  If they take over a squad, they’d have to work with players whom they are comfortable with, whom they know will work hard.  Case in point—Smart Gilas and Chot Reyes.

The only difference between Caslib’s case and that of coach Weiss is that when Coach Aries started winning, the complaints regarding the San Beda presence died down.

Coach Weiss is operating under a different atmosphere and is under the microscope and anything he does is gets dissected over social media. 

And I like to take that in a positive note as it shows fans are concerned with what’s happening in the team.  Constructive criticisms are a good thing, and criticizing the national team isn’t a crime.  It’s just unfortunate that in a time when there are blogs and websites about the Azkals sprouting almost every other minute, we still get half the picture.    

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