THE RP-14 may have ended their campaign in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football South East Asia Region with two losses but still earned some respect after being tagged as the most improved team that the Philippines has ever sent to the tournament.
This is the third time that the Philippines sent a team to the festival and the AFC recognized the significant improvement of this team, according to assistant coach Allan Medalla in an email.
Medalla also stated that the AFC took notice of the team's much-improved techniques and the booters’ individual tactics in their matches.
He, however, admitted that the Philippines still has a long way to go to keep abreast with the football Asian powerhouses like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The RP elite team bowed to Australia, 0-2, and to Vietnam, 0-2.
Both matches followed the same pattern with the RP team conceding goals early in the match. They tried to get back into the game in the second half but their attempts were foiled.
Added commendation for the team is the picking of RP U-14's Jose Rafael Lipardo into the All-Star selection.
Making the team equally proud was the team's head coach Oliver Colina, who was chosen to coach the U-14 All-Star selection in its match against the Under-17 Sabah team.
The latter, however, won against the U-14 All-Star selection, 2-1. The team and its coaching staff, which arrived yesterday morning, thanked the Filipino community in Kota Kinabalu for supporting them by watching their games.
Medalla said they also want to thank the Cebu City government for making the trip possible. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON
Cebu Daily News