Monday, June 18, 2012

Teen Azkals Seeking to Sustain Philippines Football

With the advent of football in the country, there is a better awareness for the sport. You can thank our senior national team for returning it to the consciousness of the Pinoy, whether people view it as a positive or negative.

But in order to keep the growth of the sport to be sustainable, there has to be a trickle-down effect from the seniors all the way to the grassroots level. We still have much to improve on these things, but slowly but surely, the path is there to be taken. We have heard of the success of the U-13 team (more known as the "Little Azkals") overseas. Our U-22 team is currently playing friendlies to prepare them for the upcoming AFC U-22 qualifiers.

On June 16 at the OneA Events Center in Antipolo City, the management of the Philippines U-19 men's football team (more commonly known as the "Teen Azkals"), along with some representatives of the Philippine Football Federation, met with some members of the online social media to share and spread the message about the sport and the team.

According to Mr. Alvin Carranza, who serves as the U-19 Team Manager, they are about to conduct their search for new members for the team, with those interested can go to the University of the Philippines - Diliman on July 7 & 8, while those based in the VisMin area can go to the football grounds of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on August 4 to 12. (Questions relating to this can be relayed to the Teen Azkals' Facebook page)

PFF Coach and Technical Director Aris Caslib noted that the team is looking for players that have the following criteria: physique, speed, height, decision-making, and the will to win.

In addition to the news on the U-19, the PFF also explained the state of football to members of the online media who were present in the event. They highlighted the success of the sport in the country, but at the same time, illustrated what still needs to be done to make things better. Case in point are the following:

a. In the grassroots level, technical experts are needed in all 33 provincial football associations (FAs) under the umbrella of the PFF to ensure continuous football activities with the emphasis on combinations of training, mind-setting, practicing, and establishing competitions and festivals for the kids. Said experts need to have proper training from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as well as from FIFA.

b. According to PFF Secretary-General Atty. Rolando Tulay, there is a need for continued education to be sustained for our coaches, as quality coaches would lead to the development of quality players that would continue to bring pride and honor to our country. There could be up to seven potential new AFC A-licensed coaches in the Philippines in the past year. In addition, assessment, teaching and development of coaches is year-round and constant.

c. There is a need for the establishment and development of football competitions whether it comes from the club level via leagues like the UFL, to the different age-group competitions, both for girls and boys as well as for men and women. The different competitions serve as a means to find individuals who can play for flag and country, whether for the different youth teams or for the senior team.

d. As per PFF President Mr. Mariano "Nonong" V. Araneta, the continued development of the national youth team system is an important aspect of his program, with the element of domestic and international exposure for the teams in order for it to be developed. To fulfill that and other aspects of the program above, partnerships with those who believe in the sport is an important ingredient.

Mr. Carranza added to that notion, expressing that the growth of the sport is dependent on the progress at the grassroots level as well as the development of the youth teams, which he believes would ensure the momentum from the success of the senior national team goes further.

The event was graced by the presence of Mr. Carranza, Coach Caslib, PFF Marketing and Communications Department Head Ebong Joson, Atoy Sta. Cruz of the Motorcycle Philippines Federation and certain elements of the online social media.

Thanks to Juan Manila Express for this photo

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