The Philippine National Men’s Football Team would like to offer to every Filipino this great triumph achieved in the football fields of Vietnam.
In the 14-history of the Suzuki Cup, the Philippines only qualified twice in the biennial competition that is at once the most prestigious tournament in the Asean region.
To get through the final rounds competition in Vietnam, we played three qualifying matches Laos where we finished second to the host country to advance to Vietnam.
And for the first time, we have advanced to the semifinals where the Philippines will play Indonesia in a home and away series where the winner, determined through the aggregate goal score, will play for the championship.
As we drew 1-1 with mighty Singapore and beat the defending champions Vietnam on their home turf 2-nil with 40,000 people in the stands cheering them on, we got word of how you, our fellow Filipinos watched us, cheered us, and sent us messages of support.
Believe us when we say that it was fantastic to hear and see all of that considering how the sport has largely gone unnoticed back home. We hope that this will be the start of football taking its rightful place as a premier sport In the Philippines.
As we drew Myanmar in a scoreless affair that saw us finish second to Vietnam in our Group, we received word that the Asean Football Federation has deemed that our homefield of Panaad, Bacolod to not be up to the requirements of the AFF Suzuki Cup after consultations with PFF President Jose Mari Martinez and therefore our hard-fought “home game” will be played either in a neutral venue or at the homefield of the other semis winner.
We deplore this decision that was arrived at without consulting the national team management team or even having the facilities inspected. We believe that this is an opportunity to provide Filipinos with a chance to watch some world-class football action that will inspire our countrymen to take up the sport and break new ground for the Philippines.
Just as you were all on our side when we were playing in Vietnam, we ask that every Filipino and football fan out there to express this indignation with regard to this decision in every venue, fora, or media so that we may treat the country to Azkals football. We implore you to express yourself on twitter, facebook, messenger, and everywhere else.
After all, the home field game is rightfully ours.
The Philippine National Men’s Football Team
Team Manager - Dan Palami, Head Coach - Simon McMenemy, Assistant Coaches - Edwin Cabalida, Edzel Bracamonte, Roland Piñero, Trainers -- Wally Javier and Josef Malinay, Media Officer - Rick Olivares, and the players -- Ian Araneta, Jerry Barbaso, Yanti Barsales, David Mark Basa, Joebel Bermejo, Alexander Borromeo, Emelio Caligdong, Christopher Camcam, Jason de Jong, Anton del Rosario, Neil Etheridge, Mark Ferrer, Roel Gener, Robert Gier, Christopher Greatwich, Peter Jaugan, Ray Jonsson, Nestor Margarse, Reymark Palmes, Kristopher Relucio, Eduard Sacapaño, James Younghusband, and Philip Younghusband.