EXPECT no conflict between clubs of United Football League and the Philippine Under-23 men’s football team as far players are concerned in the inaugural preseason tournament that kicks off on Saturday at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
Although UFL is not mandating it, the country’s premier football league is strongly encouraging clubs to allow its players who are also part of the U-23 team to play for the national squad that’s preparing for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
“The recommendation from the UFL is that teams will have to release their players to the U-23 team except when they play against each other,” UFL board member Monchu Garcia said on Friday in the press launch of the preseason. “After all, it is a UFL competition.”
The U-23 Azkals, which serves as the guest squad in the month-long tournament ahead of the UFL Cup, is bracketed in Group C, along with Stallion, Kaya, Forza, and Philippine Navy, teams that have few standouts in the national squad.
Global’s Mark Hartmann confirmed he will play for the U-23 Azkals.
One player, though, in Kaya’s OJ Porteria could miss some games for the U-23 team in the group stage where the striker is set to play for his mother club.
Garcia acts as team manager of Green Archers United, where U-23 standouts Patrick Deyto, Boyboy Fernandez, and Ronnie Aguisanda ply their trade.
The three Archers will play for both the U-23 Azkals and the Archers, until further assessment in case they meet in the later stages.
“We’ll have to evaluate the schedule then,” Garcia said.