THE Philippine men’s football team suffered a double whammy on Sunday when some Azkals players and staff were left stranded in Maldives following the cancellation of their flights.
Just a day after their heartbreaking 0-1 loss to Palestine in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup final in Male, several Azkals were supposed to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha only for it to be canceled.
According to the Azkals’ Twitter account, some Azkals experienced no delays or cancelations with Neil Etheridge Rob Gier, Juani Guirado, Roland Muller, and Stephan Schrock managing to reach their destinations as scheduled, while Simon Greatwich and James and Phil Younghusband were able to fly to Singapore to join Loyola for the Singapore Cup.
Defender Anton del Rosario and goalkeeping coach Jorge Kuriyama arrived in Manila on Sunday morning, while Jason de Jong, Patrick Deyto, OJ Porteria, Daisuke Sato, Simone Rota, Ruben Doctora, Chris Greatwich and team manager Dan Palami were expected to arrive in the country in the afternoon.
But Martin Steuble, Carli de Murga, Patrick Reichelt, Kenshiro Daniels, Amani Aguinaldo, Jerry Lucena, and Paul Mulders, coach Thomas Dooley, and seven other staff were left stranded.
Worse, they had to wait for half a day before being shuttled to a hotel, where seven people shared one room.
ABS-CBN reporter TJ Manotoc, who was among those stranded, posted updates on Twitter and pictures on Instagram, showing some Azkals staff sleeping on the airport floor prior to getting shuttled off.
“Thank you @qatarairways for giving us 1 bed for 4 people to share. Everything is completely messed up with this airline,” Reichelt tweeted on Sunday morning.
“Still stuck in Male and no one has a concrete answer from @Qatarairways when our new flight is. It just gets worse and worse! #drained,” the striker tweeted a few hours later.
Luckily, they met some hospitable Filipinos who brought some home-cooked food for them.
They eventually boarded a flight, but off Korean Air this time, on Sunday night.