Thursday, June 13, 2013

The other significant football match

ONE of the most important matches for Philippine football this year will be held today in Singapore, with our U23 team taking on the host's U23 squad in a first of a series of friendly that will test our country's preparation for the Southeast Asian Games.

There are still some five months to go until the SEAG kicks off and though while we still started late compared to our neighbors, this is the earliest preparation for a SEAG campaign that I can remember.  The 2005 squad--which had Chris Greatwich, Phil and James Younghusband, Aly Borromeo--had a camp in China about two months before the event and came closest to replicating the acheivement of the 1991 team.

The 2011 team, launched to much hype, had barely two months preparation and of course got humbled. 

This time around, it seems the Philippine Football Federation have learned its lesson and has tapped Brian Reid of Global FC to handle the squad.

Among the notable players back in the squad are Mark Hartmann and Joshua Beloya, who were part of the 2011 team, and I hope the two perform well enough to earn a spot in the team.

But the attention of most fans today won't be in Singapore but back home because for the second straight year, the title chase in the United Football League is going down the wire.

Loyola drew Stallion Gilligans, 1-1, last Tuesday, giving Global FC a glimmer of hope of defending its title.  Stallion has 46 points and a 38-goal difference, Global has 40 with two games at hand and needs to win against Kaya and Army FC by at least six goals to retain the title on goal difference.  Kaya, which lost the title last year to Global on goal difference, would love to play the spoiler and will go all out to beat Global.

That match will be at 7:30 p.m. today, almost at the same time as that other match.

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