By Edri K. Aznar
LOCAL football coaches and personalities are praising the Philippine national team for its impressive run in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
“So far it’s the best record for the Philippines since the late 90’s,” Cebu Football Association president Richard Montayre told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday in an interview.
The Azkals drew Singapore, 1-0, in their first match then upset defending champions Vietnam, 2-0. They finished second in the group with a scoreless draw with Myanmar the other night.
“If you compare it to the previous Philippine teams that competed in the Suzuki Cup, this was very much better,” said Paref-Springdale coach Mario Ceniza.
The team is coached by British Simon McMenemy and managed by Dan Palami of the Leyte Football Association.
“Right now this team has a good team manager and good talent,” said CFA board member Eleazar Toledo.
Although the RP squad showed impressive defense that catapulted them to the semifinals, Montayre and some of the Cebu-based coaches believes the team still has a lot of room for improvement in the other aspects of the game.
Montayre believes the squad should reinforce their team with more talent who can provide stellar play off off the bench.
“They have to have more players of same level with the first 11. The Philippines seldom made substitutions,” he said.
Ceniza, on the other hand, thinks the midfield needs a few tweaking while Toledo and RP Boys Under-14 coach Oliver Colina feels the offense needs improvement.
“Going to the semis is a very good result. They have to work on cohesiveness of the midfield. They have to also work on their finishing,” said Ceniza.
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