12 December 2010

Revamp the Azkals?

By Edri k. Aznar

ALTHOUGH the RP Men’s national football squad has brought glory to the country by reaching the semifinals in the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup, ousted Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Jose Mari Martinez has plans to build a “different but better squad.”

Martinez, who was ousted in the congress last Nov. 27 but is still backed by Fifa, reportedly wants to virtually change the whole RP team starting from British coach Simon McEnemy to the rest of its roster.

“It’s not only the coach but he plans to revamp the whole team. If he feels that it is best for Philippine football then he can do so,” said team manager Dan Palami in an interview by Sun.Star Cebu yesterday. “He is free to say whatever he wants to say. If he’s sincere in improving football by building a (better) team then it would be good for football. The question is what is his motivation in doing that?”

Palami questioned Martinez’s intentions of changing the whole squad but he would gladly accept it if the new team will be better than the current squad.

“He should have built that team when he had three years to do it. Why wait this long?”
Martinez was ousted by majority of the presidents of the different football associations of the Philippines. He was replaced by interim PFF president Mariano Araneta. However, Fifa continued to support Martinez as the president of the PFF because of questions on the legality of last month’s congress. Fifa has advised the PFF to have another congress within 90 days from Dec. 3.

The Azkals will have their last practice in the Philippines today and will be leaving for Indonesia on Tuesday for their first semifinal match on Dec. 16.

The semifinal was supposed to follow a home-and-away format but the RP squad will be playing both matches in Indonesia because the Philippines doesn’t have a suitable venue. The second semifinal match will be on Dec. 19.

“It’s unfortunate because the players have worked hard. They are inspired to play in front of their fellow countrymen but it didn’t happen because we have no pitch ready for international competition,” said Palami. “Its unfortunate but the boys will work hard to make the country proud.”

The Azkals arrived in the Philippines last Thursday, after a goalless draw with Myanmar last Wednesday, and practiced at the International School of Manila football field the other day.

Amidst the chaos with the leadership of the PFF, the RP Men’s squad is still focused on its daunting task at hand—bring glory to the country.

“It’s difficult to assess (our chances against Indonesia) because when we started, everybody didn’t give us a chance to advance to the semis. Everybody thought that we would be thrashed by Vietnam but we surprised them. We will give the Indonesians a good fight.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 13, 2010.


  1. Martinez is the only one who can truly beat the National team and Philippine football. I have previously said I will apologize for everything I have written here if he can build a team that can do more than what Palami and McMenemy has put together. Its not like we have so much talent waiting to fill the void if heaven forbid, these great players will get disheartened and stand aside. If he had made use of all that money to actually improve the National Team Pool maybe he has a leg to stand on. But he had so much time and now he makes these desperate appeals to try to put himself back in a positive light. Brazilian coach?? What a load of bull. Why didnt he do this 3 years ago? The only bright side is we know he has never done what he says he will do. He will be out in a few months (if the local associations do their jobs) and I think I have made a safe bet I will never have to apologize. Will anyone in his right mind allow this person continue to lead Philippine football? I dont think there has been anyone in the history of football who is working so hard to destroy his own federation. And I even said in previous blogs during his first 6 months in charge for everyone to be patient and give him a chance. I now regret being so diplomatic with this guy as he can not reciprocate any goodwill. Again, sayang ang pangalan mo Martinez. You once had a proud reputation and successful playing career only few footballers here in the Philippines could ever achieve. Now you will only be remembered for selling us out and sticking to your position like a leech. You are no longer welcome. Save whatever little integrity you have and ride off into the sunset.

  2. I 100% hated Martinez but what he said is true. I wonder if you understand the world of football. We were playing track and field. Though, I just want him out here. We can do better football than this.