National football body elated by Little Azkals’ performance in JapanCebu Daily News
THE Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said it is very impressed with the third place finish of the Philippine Under-14 football team in the Japan-East Asean Football Exchange Programme U-14 Youth Football Festival held at the J-Green Sakai in Osaka, Japan.
PFF secretary general Rolando Tulay expressed the group’s elation with the Little Azkals’ performance and said they will be hosting a dinner for the team tomorrow night when they arrive from Japan.
“We congratulate the management and team manager Richard Montayre for a job well done,” Tulay said.
The Little Azkals finished third among six countries, trailing Japan and Indonesia, respectively.
Australian Graeme Mackinnon, one of the successful coaches who contributed a lot in Philippine football, said this is a positive step forward for the country’s football scene.
“Any time a team goes overseas and gains international experience, it is a fantastic experience for the players and coaches alike,” he said. “The more international exposure a player can have in his formative years will be better for the foundation for the future.”
The Little Azkals are mindful that they still have a lot to learn about football despite their achievements so far.
Striker Jeremiah “JB” Borlongan of Cagayan de Oro said that through their international experiences so far, he learned that the team can compete with the top teams in Asia such as Japan.
“I also learned that we have to practice more so that we can go to the top,” said the 13-year-old Abbas Orchard School standout.
Little Azkals assistant team captain Josh Albert Miller said they have learned a lot in Japan, especially on how they can improve their game.
“In the last few games, a lot of our weaknesses were exposed. Now, we’re all looking to work on them and improve on them so that the next time we play as a team, we will do better performance-wise,” said the 14-year-old central defender.
The members of the team return to their respective provinces when they arrive from Japan. But they will be called back for country duty later this year with three friendly matches against Malaysia. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON