Visiting teams from Japan , Chinese Taipei, Indonesia , and Bangladesh may have an edge in terms of preparation and logistics, but host Philippines may yet pull off a surprise as the Asian Under-16 Football Championship Group E Qualifying Tournament gets underway this Saturday at the Panaad Stadium football pitch in Brgy. Mansilingan, Bacolod City .
Members of the RP XI mentored by head coach Glenn Ramos are unfazed by the reputation of the foreign teams.
Negrense midfielder Gerald Mark Layumas, one of the four locals tapped to join the team, said they will be more inspired if all football followers in Negros will come out and cheer for them in the weeklong event at the Panaad Stadium.
“If they cheer for us we will surely get inspiration to play harder,” said Layumas, the 15-year old midfielder from Colegio de Santo Tomas-Recoletos in San Carlos City , Negros Occidental.
“A passion for the game and a passion for playing for country. That's what we have and that's what we are bringing in this tournament,” Carlos Alberto Gerardo Monfort, the 14-year-old son of the late national coach and PFF general secretary Chris Monfort said.
Layumas and Monfort were among the members of the team who joined yesterday's taping of “The Morning Show” over ABS-CBN TV 4 to promote their participation in the AFC-organized competition. The interview will be aired on Friday.
Joining them was 15-year old goalkeeper Florencio Badelic Jr. of Holy Cross High School in Bukidnon, who said he feels proud to have played for the country especially against foreign teams.
“I'm proud to be playing for the country; it's an experience I'll never forget,” Badelic said.
Meanwhile, coach Ramos expressed the team's gratitude to Executive Village Football Club president Rafael “Junie” Lizares for hosting the national team.
Team Philippines is scheduled to take on powerhouse Japan in the 2 p.m. opening match this Saturday, followed by the game between Indonesia and Bangladesh at 4:30 p.m.
Matches are open to the public for free said event coordinator and PFF general secretary Cyril Dofitas.*NAB
Source : Visayan Daily Star