THE PHILIPPINES is still not sending a men’s football team to the 2013 Southeast Asian Games amid the confusion caused by a surprise Philippine entry in the competition draw.
Chief of mission Jeff Tamayo said there appears to be a "communication breakdown" when the country was mistakenly included in the draw held in Myanmar on Wednesday.
“October 5 and October 10, nagpadala kami ng update ng mga athletes and we informed them na walang football (team),” said Tamayo.
“Apparently, meron silang communication breakdown,” he added.
The U-23 Azkals were bracketed in Group A following Wednesday’s draw together with SEA Games champion Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, and Brunei. Group B is composed of Thailand, Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Cambodia.
Goal.com reported on Wednesday an unidentified Philippine official witnessed the draw, but didn’t indicate the team has withdrawn from the tournament.
Tamayo confirmed there was indeed a Filipino official present during the draw - an attaché from the Philippine embassy in Myanmar -- but clarified the person was only there to witness the affair.
“Observer lang naman ‘yun,” Tamayo said.
The chef de mission also reiterated to organizers that the Philippines won’t be sending the men’s U-23 team to the SEA Games through a letter to the Myanmar organizers.
“We wrote them a letter informing them na October 5 and 10 pa lang, nagpadala na tayo ng update,” said Tamayo.
Despite the inclusion of the Philippines in the draw, Tamayo said there will still be no men’s football team since the deadline for the submission of entries has already lapsed.
“Since September 28, hindi na ma-pa-process ‘yung mga visa kaya maaga ‘yung submission of names. Swamped na sila, hindi na nila kaya,” said Tamayo.