PHILIPPINE Air Force coach Edzel Bracamonte lashed out at what he felt was biased officiating after his ejection from the Airmen’s 4-0 loss to Kaya on Thursday night in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig City.
The Air Force sergeant was sent off late in the first half after getting fed up with the questionable calls against his team in the highly physical affair that saw 10 cards handed out, including a red card shown to Antonio Albor Jr.
“Yung emotion ko (hindi ko na-control). Napamura siguro ako,” Bracamonte said. “Very obvious naman yung referee eh. Napaka-biased naman. Local versus foreigner. Alam ko naman hindi mananalo yung team ko sa kanila. Gusto lang namin bigyan kami ng magandang game.”
Without a coach in the second half, the Airmen yielded three more goals to end up at the wrong side of the blowout, leaving them at the bottom of the standings, still without a point to show after eight games.
Bracamonte summed up the kind of a season it has been for the once mighty perennial champions.
“Very frustrating, of course. Kita mo naman yung ibang teams. Sa Air Force, we cannot afford to buy players abroad. Kami naman hindi ganun kayaman. Air Force naman team ng bayan ‘to eh.”
Against Kaya, Bracamonte cited two calls which he felt went against his team - the first when a Kaya player escaped a penalty after a tackle left the Airmen’s Mark Anthony Fernandez with an ankle injury, and another where the Airmen’s Albor was ejected after a struggle with a Kaya player.
“Actually, (Kaya) naman nag-start eh,” he said. “Napaka-excessive ng force ng defender nila. Lumabas yung player (Fernandez) ko, injured. Pwedeng i-direct red (card) yun. Very obvious na hindi bola yung intention. Bakit ayaw bigyan ng card?”
“Tapos si Albor, shoulder to shoulder, wala namang natumba. Binigyan pa ng card. Anong klaseng judgment yan?” Bracamonte added. “Gusto nating i-lift up yung level ng football dito pero ang referees natin ganyan.
"I’m not blaming the referees. Gusto ko lang sana justice, protektahan naman nila ang player ko.”
Bracamonte even rued questionable calls made against his team after he retreated to the stands in the second half.
“Ang daming offside. Napaka-late ng assistant referee. Hindi makatakbo.”
Asked to comment on the matter, Kaya coach David Perkovic said there were questionable calls that went against both teams.
“There were biased decisions for and against both teams,” he said. “But I think it’s how you respond to those decisions is what makes a football team. You can get caught up and play dirty after it because things don’t go your way or you can just move on.”
“On (those) plays our football team was able to do that. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to,” the Australian mentor added.
Still, Bracamonte said he will appeal to the UFL executive committee to review the game.
“I will file (a formal appeal) ... Ipapa-review ko yung game para mabigyan naman ng disciplinary action tong mga (concerned persons)," said Bracamonte, who also acts as an assistant coach for the national team.