by Edward Lao, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
MANILA, Philippines -- Last Friday (October 21) a squad of British Pinoy footballers touched down on Philippine soil to begin a 4-game tour of exhibition games.
The select Philippine UK team, currently stationed in Bacolod, made the journey to train and test themselves against some of their Pinoy counterparts. The team has 20 players that come from cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, Reading and London.
Scottish coach James Hall was in a confident mood before the team headed out.
“Fitness will be the main key and climate change will be difficult, but our football will win us through. We are looking forward to meeting these teams with excitement and giving them competitive games, making new friends, and being ambassadors from the UK”, Hall said.
A large contingent of the players were piped from the UK's first amateur Pinoy football side – PFC (Philippine Football Club). The team has been running since 2009 and currently competes in Division One of the West Hertfordshire League, just outside of London.
In an email to ABS-CBN Europe, Hall explained how he approached PFC a few months ago and offered them the chance to train and play a few tune up games before heading out to the Philippines.
PFC was created not only to give British-based Pinoys a chance to play together, but also to scout potential talent that could be considered for teams in the Philippines, or even the national team. Eager to realize a dream, the players accepted the opportunity.
Less than a week before flying out, it was evident there was an air of excitement within the camp.
“Finally it's here. We've had a few ups and downs, a few chops and changes with our management and coaches, but the bottom line is, we're off to the Philippines. We've been presented with an opportunity so it's up to us to take it," said Midfielder Oliver Liyanage.
Goalkeeper Engelbert Cepillo said, “This is one of the major stepping stones for the team. Three years now together? This came up and we're just taking it as it is”.
Forward Raymond Tordecilla added, “Looking forward to it, but not sure about the weather, we're used to the English weather. I heard it's monsoon season there so it will be hard to adapt, especially if it's raining. It will be a hard test for us. I am sure they [the opposition teams] will be really fit but we'll show them a bit of English football, something a bit different”, Tordecilla said.
PH-UK vs Bacolod United
On Monday (October 24) the Philippine UK team played its first game of the tour against Bacolod United and cruised to a 5 – 0 victory. Despite this, some Philippine UK players were reportedly left battered and bruised by Bacolod's physical approach.
During their short visit, the British Pinoys are hoping to catch the eye of everyone, especially those within the PFF (Philippine Football Federation).
“It is a dream for any Filipino player to go to his homeland and impress the Azkal management. I am confident that the players with the good attitudes will in fact do this", coach Hall said.
The next game is on Thursday (October 27) against San Carlos City FC. Following that will be Sagay City on October 31, then finally Ceres FC on November 3.
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