THE PHILIPPINE Under 14 football team is learning to incorporate Italian football into their regular regimen as they enter the final week of their training camp in Palermo Italy.
The training camp, hosted by the Italian football school A.S.D SportVillage Tommaso Natale Scuola Calcio Giacomo Tedesco, will end on May 9. The Little Azkals return to the Philippines the next day.
Head coach Oliver “Bingbing” Colina said he has seen improvement in the team, who was in Italy since April 20.
Aside from learning new tricks in attacking and goalkeeping from the Italian football coaches, the team’s mentality and understanding of the game have also improved.
And this is evidenced by how they won their last two games in Reggio Calabria.
“They have good teams here. Their training might be advanced but our boys, at this level, can also cope with them,” Colina said.
Colina said the field was a factor in their last two wins because it was of good quality. He said that his boys got daunted by the field in their second and third games because it had a hard surface, made of compact sand and had no grass.
Richard Montayre, the Little Azkals team manager, said the team is also learning a lot from former Serie A coach Ignazio Arcoleo, who is said to have a hand in developing Italian football standout Marco Materazzi.
“That’s the reason why we are scoring more goals now,” Montayre said.
He added that Arcoleo have taught the team various team plays and individual skills.
Upon their arrival, the team’s assessment was different in team plays and aggressiveness, set plays and team organization.
The Italian coaches also recommended player positions for the team./CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON