MANILA, Philippines - The national men’s football team Wednesday night belied statements recently issued by former Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Jose Mari Martinez, who has claimed credit for the squad’s successful showing in the just-concluded Group B tournament of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“...on the contrary, we have not received one centavo of support from the PFF under Mr. Mari Martinez.” said the team statement read by team captain Aly Borromeo and Anton del Rosario, two senior members of the side, during a press briefing upon their arrival at the Ninoy International Airport.
Speaking on the team’s behalf, Borromeo and Del Rosario said they were prompted to issue the statement because “in the last few days Filipinos everywhere have heard about how the football team has received all sorts of help from PFF” under Martinez.
“While our triumph on the football field and the glory we’ve attained is something we are sharing with every Filipino and football fan out there, taking credit for matters one did not do is something we do not condone,” it added.
“To hear of a three-year plan that he (Martinez) has put in place is actually laughable and downright insulting.”
They pointed out that only until recently “we’ve never had any decent training grounds for us to practice on when we trained at the Alabang Country Club and the International School of Manila.”
“Even simple matters such as processing the paperwork regarding our request for the release of the Armed Forces servicemen to the national team duty cannot be done,” the statement said.
On the other hand, the squad cited national team manager Dan Palami’s efforts to prepare a competitive squad for international competitions
“In the past year, the national team has kept running and going by Mr. Dan Palami, who has graciously shared his resources with the team yet has asked for nothing in return except that we help promote the beautiful game and win glory for the country,” they noted.
The statement declined to elaborate how much Palami had invested in the team, but “suffice to say that it is a lot.”
They claimed that Martinez failed to greet them even once during the entire Vietnam stint.
“Not... a call or a text during the final rounds of the 2010 Suzuki Cup in Hanoi, Vietnam, where we the national team made it to the semifinals for the first time in the 14-year history of the competition.”
The statement reserved its strongest words against Martinez regarding the country’s failure to host its home game against Indonesia in the semifinal series starting Dec. 16.
“Now there is the matter of Mr. Martinez telling the Asean Football Federation officials that we, the national team, cannot have our own home game, that we fought so hard for to be played in front of our countrymen,” they lamented.
“What a wasted opportunity!”
“This is not meant to be a laundry list to air our grievances,” the team said, “rather, we just want to set the record straight.”