The phenomenal growth of football in the Philippines alone should be enough reason to send a national squad to the Southeast Asian Games this December in Myanmar.
There have been reports that the Philippine Sports Commission is not keen on sanctioning a football and volleyball team to the biennial sports event, with chief of mission Jeff Tamayo saying “they can’t guarantee a gold or silver.”
Football in the SEA Games is played among under-23 booters and the Philippine team finished last among six teams in Group B in the 2011 edition in Indonesia.
But Azkals manager and national teams committee chair Dan Palami is adamant a football team deserves to go to the Myanmar Games.
“If there’s a sport that we should not stop from joining, one of them should be football because it’s gaining momentum for us. This is something our under-23s are looking forward to and they will be preparing for that,” he said.
“Costs will be shouldered by private entities anyway so the government will not have to bear the burden of subsidizing the costs,” the 43-year-old entrepreneur from Tacloban added. “I see no reason why they should not be sending football teams there.”
The Philippine Football Federation is planning to send men’s, women’s, and futsal squads in the upcoming SEA Games.
The PSC earlier expressed its plan to send a small delegation to the SEA Games. And PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez on Wednesday admitted the country’s sports governing body is focused more on preparing teams for the Asian Games next year.
“We’re discussing the Southeast Asian Games delegations and the problems of team sports. When you’re looking at team sports, we’re actually looking more toward next year in the Asian Games,” he said.