THE surprise entry of the Philippines in the official draw of the men’s football competition in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games has brought confusion to Philippine football officials and organizers of the biennial meet.
The formal draw was conducted on Wednesday in Myanmar where the Philippine Under-23 men’s football team, which failed to get the go-signal of local sports officials to represent the country in the meet, was unexpectedly included in the entry list.
The U-23 Azkals have been bracketed in Group A with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and Brunei, while the host country is in Group B with Thailand, Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Cambodia.
In the distaff side the Malditas, who, fortunately have been given the green light to compete, are in Group A with Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Goal.com reported on Wednesday SEA Games organizers related that “a Philippine official witnessed the draw, but did not indicate the team had withdrawn.”
Philippine Football Federation Head of International Relations Maj Año confirmed she has received the official fixtures after the draw, but denied any knowledge that a PFF official was in the draw to represent the country.
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t book anyone to Myanmar this week,” Año posted on her Twitter account.
The development has prompted talks Philippine Olympic Committee officials have yet to inform SEA Games organizers that it won’t send a men’s team in what is considered one of the most highly-awaited events of the tournament.