Cebu Daily News
WASTING no time in the development of football in the country, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has announced the holding of the Men's U23 and U19 National Championships as early as next month.
According to a memorandum, these events are aimed at reviving the national local competitions as well as help in the talent identification for the men's U23 and U19 national teams, which will be seeing action in international competitions later this year.
The men's U23 national finals will be held from May 6 to 15 while the men's U19 national finals will be held from May 20 to 29.
Before the U23 national finals, group stage eliminations, otherwise known as cluster qualifying rounds, will be held from March 21 to 31 with the winners advancing to the regional qualifying round to be held from April 11 to 23. The top two teams will then advance to the national finals.
The U19 will also hold its cluster qualifying rounds from March 21 to 31, also with the winners advancing to the regional qualifying round to be held from April 25 to 19 with the top two teams advancing to the national finals.
The tournament is open to all regular member association (MA) of the PFF.
Luzon football associations (FAs) in the group stage eliminations will be clustered under North, Central and South Luzon; Southeast Luzon, North Mindanao, South Mindanao, Central Mindanao and West Mindanao.
This is done because a PFF MA will only be allowed to field one team.
The National Capital Region (NCR) and the Visayas both automatically qualify for the regional finals.
Cebu Football Association (CFA) president Richard Montayre, who also heads the PFF grassroots and youth development committee, said this is so because the NCR is considered as one region while the Visayas only has five FAs—Negros Oriental Football Association (NORFA), Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA), CFA, Leyte Football Association (LFA) and the Iloilo Football Association (IFA).
They will be joined by all Luzon winners and all Mindanao winners in the regional finals.
It will be up to NCR and Visayas FAs on how they will select their teams.
As for the CFA, Montayre said its U23 team will be manned by a selection from the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI). For its U19 team, coaches will still meet and decide whether to hold tryouts or elimination matches.
Meanwhile, the CFA through PFF also sent out invitations to the other FAs to participate in the 1st DRB Football Jamboree to be held from April 2 to 3 at the Aboitiz Sportsfield in Cebu City.
Aside from the U23 and U19 national championships, PFF also announced the holding of the “PFF Smart National Club Championships,” which is aimed at reviving the national local club competitions in the Philippines. This will also serve as talent identification for national football teams. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON