MANILA, Philippines – The Southeast Asian Games task force of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission has slammed the door on the bid of the Phl under-23 football team to compete in the coming SEAG in Myanmar.
According to POC chairman Tom Carrasco, the Philippine Football Federation has not satisfactorily justified the inclusion of the U-23 Azkals in terms of their qualification and capability as gold medal contender.
"Not much activity as a team to show," Carrasco told The STAR yesterday.
He said it didn't help the booters that they only had a single international friendly to use as basis – the one against Singapore U-23, which Phl had lost, 0-1.
“Wala tayong makitang basis para maisama sila sa delegation (We found no basis in making them a part of the delegation)," Carrasco said.
"Isa lang ang kanilang friendly game na sinalihan at natalo pa sa Singapore. Kung sana mga apat o limang friendly games ang kanilang sinalihan para may basis tayo. Nagiging patas lamang tayo sa lahat ng mga NSAs na dumaan din sa ganitong pagsusuri (They only had one friendly and they lost it to Singapore. If perhaps they have four or five, at least we could have had a better basis. We're just being fair in applying this selection criteria to all sports associations)," he added.
The PFF had batted for the inclusion of the U23 Azkals, saying the pool is stronger than the one that took part in 2011 and had a better training program. It had also cited the fact that a number of the men's team Azkals mainstays are still eligible for the SEAG and that the team held its ground against their Singaporean counterparts, most of whom are playing in the Malaysian league.
As it is, only the Philippine women's team Malditas will be representing Phl football in the Myanmar Games.
The Malditas are among 169 athletes that the task force has approved for the SEAG delegation after a series of deliberations.
The task force, meanwhile, gave the blessing for the inclusion of four more bets in athletics and eight more in sepak takraw.
Carrasco bared that the POC has left the door open for 68 more bets, who are still up for further "justification and verification."
This includes the Perlas Pilipinas women's basketball team, which has been given the chance to catch the last bus with "a decent performance" in the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship next month in Thailand.