Little Azkals head for Japan todayCebu Daily News
THE Philippine Under 14 football team also known as the Little Azkals leaves for Japan today for the Japan-East Asean Football Exchange Programme U-14 Youth Football Festival, which will be held in Osaka from June 17 to 24.
Aside from the home team Japan and the Philippines, only four other countries have been invited to see action in this tournament funded by the Japan Football Association (JFA). These are Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Little Azkals have been invited by the JFA based on their performance in last year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-13 Festival of Football held in Malaysia, wherein they posted a win-draw-loss record of 3-3-4.
The JFA is shouldering the travel expenses, accommodation and food of all participating teams, according to team manager Richard Montayre.
The Little Azkals lineup is comprised of Cebu’s Lawrence “Soysoy” Colina, Major Dean Ebarle, Kintaro Miyagi, Vincent Erik Lovitos and Lorenzo Genco; Manila’s Marco Alessandro Casambre, Harrel Rainier Dayan, Josh Albert Miller, Ray Vincent Sanciangco and John William Abraham; Cagayan de Oro’s Jeremiah Borlongan and Dimitri Lionel Limbo; Davao’s Darius Joseph Diamante and Javier Romero-Salas; Dumaguete’s Christian Floren Lapas and Jose Anton Yared, Dipolog’s Sebastian Rafael Patangan; and San Carlos City’s Mason Trent Vergara.
Head coach Oliver Colina is confident the boys will perform well despite not having enough rest.
It has been a busy summer for the Little Azkals. As soon as classes finished last March, the boys were camped at the Don Bosco Boys Home in Liloan, wherein they trained twice a day except on Sundays.
They had a 20-day training in Palermo, Italy hosted by A.S.D SportVillage Tommaso Natale Scuola Calcio Giacomo Tedesco. While in Italy, the team also played in 12 friendly matches.
Upon their return to the country, the team went back to the training camp in Liloan in preparation for the AFC U14 FOF held in Kota Kinabalu from May 28 to June 4.
Two days after returning last June 5, the team went back to training camp in Liloan, this time in preparation for the Japan tournament. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON