Friday, February 28, 2014

Fair Play: Army frowns on EdSa call up?

This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 1 issue

BACOLOD City---The Philippines will have its first international game today  under coach Thomas Dooley, against familiar foes Malaysia  and to be honest, I don't expect the team to win.

Not only are we facing Malaysia, a team we haven't beaten, this game might as well be also the first time the re-tooled national team will be playing as a team for the first time.

The last two games against Malaysia both ended in a draw, with neither team scoring the last time around.  The two games before that all saw the Malaysians winning, 4-0, and 4-1.

Now, we may be ahead in the rankings at 127 worldwide and at 17 in Asia to Malaysia’s 150 and 29, those stats won’t matter when the two teams meet anew today in Malaysia.

And because of a rule that suddenly came into play, we won't have the battle-tested Ed Sacapano manning the goal, and will instead have the untested Patrick Deyto or Nick O’Donnell.  No offense to both guys, I'm sure they are very capable keepers, but this is the international game, and I would have liked their debut to have been as a second half sub, with the team safely ahead.

Edsa, a tried and tested veteran who had one of his best games in the Azkals win over Singapore in Cebu, won't be playing because the PFF forgot to comply with the two-week rule regarding call-ups involving the Philippine Army players.

I think I almost stepped on the “solid version” of that rule, when I got off the van on my way to the media center of the PAL Interclub tournament here in the City of Smiles.  Yep, that’s how the whole situation smells like.

The PFF has been calling up guys from the Armed Forces of the Philippines for decades, and now this?  Is this a new rule?

And you have the rest of the players going through the process of impressing the coach, who formed the final lineup less than a week before the friendly and the Army wants a two-week notice.

That's like saying, if you want the Army guys, guarantee their spots in the team, don't let him go through the tryout B.S. 

And, I'd like to point out too, that this came in a time when even the UFL moved the Kaya vs. Global game a day early to accommodate the national team?

Good move, Army, good move.  Weren’t you guys invited when Dooley met with the stakeholders in the UFL?

It's OK to loan Edsa to Global for the AFC Presidents Cup or even for the UFL but it's not OK to release him to the national team in a Fifa-designated friendly which
definitely requires less than two weeks' notice?

Of course, unless there is an imminent attack by our good-natured and friendly bully China and the Armed Forces of the Philippines has all enlisted men on red alert, ready to bear arms against the Southeast Asian menace, then that would be understandable.

But a two-week notice for a friendly? Exactly two weeks after the first training session of the training pool?

As my favorite ROTC instructor would say, "THAT'S BULLSH&T!"

No comments: