By Karlo Sacamos
THE Philippine Football Federation has expressed optimism that the Under-23 men’s and women’s football teams will finally be included in the country’s delegation to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games following its meeting with the SEA Games task force on Wednesday.
PFF president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta and general secretary Edwin Gastanes came out with a “light heart” after presenting their arguments before the task force led by Philippine Olympic Committee chairman Tom Carrasco and the delegation’s chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.
“I think as a whole, the meeting went well. They asked some questions and we were able to answer them,” Gastanes told Spin.ph in a phone conversation. “We will await the decision, but if only for the fact that we were given the opportunity to present our arguments before them is a good sign for us.”
Gastanes expects the task force to come up with a recommendation to the POC in one week, although he said the prospects look dim for the futsal teams as they were not part of the “entry by number” submitted by the task force to the organizing committee in Myanmar for the 27th edition of the regional biennial meet.
The deadline of submission of “entry by names” is September 6, according to Gastanes.
Gastanes emphasized that the teams were formed earlier than usual. Unlike two years ago when the teams were formed only three months before the tournament, the teams were formed eight months before this year, giving the coaching staff sufficient time to prepare.
Also asked about recent track record of the teams, the PFF gave the task force their roster and playing history, noting that “many members of the A-team that became champion in last year’s Peace Cup, 10 of them, are still in the U-23.”
Gastanes said dragonboat was the next national sports association that presented its cause to the task force in one of the meeting rooms of the Philippine Sports Commission at the Rizal Memorial Complex.