By rick olivares
In the midst of all the “lost” home field match hullaballoo that the Philippine National Men’s Football Team earned by virtue of placing second in the Final Rounds Group B competition of the 2010 Suzuki Cup, Vietnam Football Federation President Nguyen Trong Hy swooped in to try and save the day.
Hy visited the departing Philippine team at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and in a magnanimous gesture, offered to host the “home match” for the Philippines in Ho Chi Minh City with the VFF footing the bill.
The Asean Football Federation yesterday ruled that the Philippines does not have the proper home field facilities to mount a match of this magnitude and instead decided to hold the match in semifinal’s foe Indonesia’s Gelano Karno Stadium in Jakarta. National team management officials believe that hosting the Philippines’ “home game” in Indonesia’s home turf provides them a massive advantage that the Indons look to take advantage of. “I think we earned the right to play that game in the Philippines,” said the nationals’ head coach Simon McMenemy. “All week long AFF officials have talked about how our performance in Hanoi will stir up interest and help in the growth of football in the Philippines and then they take this away? It’s just not right.”
The VFF went one step further and also guaranteed the hometown crowd support for the Azkals despite their inflicting Vietnam’s lone loss in the Final Rounds Group B competition of the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Philippine National Team Manager Dan Palami thought that the offer was marvelous gesture of friendship and he hopes that the formal request, to be sent to the Asean Football Federation today December 10, 2010.
If the request is turned down, the national team will depart for Jakarta on Tuesday the 13th with the semifinals matches being held on the 16 and the 19th.
“Playing in Indonesia is already a tough job,” said team captain Aly Borromeo. “But to play there twice?”
Said Philippine striker Ian Araneta, “Malaking karangalan na i-host ng Pilipinas ‘tong game na ‘to. Sana magtulungan para mangyari ‘to.”
AFF sources claim that the decision to move the home field match was arrived at after a study of field conditions, the venue’s seating capacity, and the proper set up for television coverage.