By Mike T. Limpag
Thursday, September 29, 2011
THANKS but no, thanks.
Philippine national men’s football team manager Dan Palami shot down the idea of him replacing Nonong Araneta as the president of the Philippine Football Federation in the November elections.
Palami said football in the Philippines hasn’t reached its full potential yet and running against Araneta would be a divisive exercise.
“I’m sure they have their reasons to prod me to run. They know that I have the best interest of football in mind. They know of my management skills. However, I don’t want this. Football in the Philippines hasn’t fully blossomed and I don’t want a divisive exercise,” said Palami.
Palami, who recently resigned from his position at APT Global Inc. to concentrate on his job as the team manager and four other positions in his real estate companies, manpower company, a school board and as head of marketing of the PFF, said he supports Araneta.
“I’m contented with the support that Nonong Araneta is giving us and this is the time for us to unite behind the PFF,” Palami said.
Araneta, who was also prodded by stakeholders to run in the 2007 elections against Mari Martinez and Ed Formosa, took over the PFF presidency in December last year when the PFF Board of Governors ousted Martinez.
Palami said he will support Araneta if he decides to run for another term in the November elections.
“He (Araneta) will have my support and I hope he continues to support my initiatives as manager of the national team,” said Palami.
Meanwhile, Palami said the national team will try to maximize the Fifa-designated dates for friendlies in 2012, which could mean a busy year for the Azkals.
“Playing friendlies is one way of improving our rank,” Palami said. “It will give the players more time to play together for better cohesion. It will also allow us to evaluate new players.”
Aside from friendlies against national team, Palami said an events management company has offered to bring in European clubs and said they have received offers from second and third division teams in Spain.
“If Liverpool can have a friendly in Malaysia, perhaps the Philippines will be the next stop?” said Palami, who acknowledged bringing in a top tier club like Liverpool would be expensive.
“We are also looking at inviting Fulham, Neil Etheridge’s club, for a friendly,” he said.
Aside from the friendlies, the Azkals will be joining two tournaments next year—the AFC Challenge Cup and the Suzuki Cup.
The Azkals qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup main draw in Nepal for the first time after winning the qualifiers last March and for the Suzuki Cup, the Azkals won’t have to go through the qualifiers for the first time.
“Before the Challenge Cup, we are planning to hold a training camp in the Gulf area,” he said.
Palami also said the PFF is looking at hosting the Suzuki Cup but the lack of pitches is hampering that move.
“Manila needs a second pitch,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2011.