Following the Philippine national men’s football team’s victory over the hometown Maldives side in the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup, United Football League (UFL) president Randy Roxas lauded the team for its entry into the finals and praised the contribution of the UFL’s finest players in achieving it.
“The entire UFL organization is elated with the Philippine national team’s historic semifinal win against Maldives last night. We are especially proud of our (UFL) boys for they have shown that they can compete at a high level and can contribute just as much as the team’s foreign-based players,” Roxas said.
UFL standouts comprise a majority of the Azkals’ squad and have provided a strong core for head coach Thomas Dooley. The team has scored a total of seven goals in four matches, with six of them coming from players who ply their trade in the UFL – including veteran Chris Greatwich’s winning goal in extra time of the Azkals’ 3-2 semifinal victory.
“Our passage to the final goes to show that when sports bodies come together and work for the common good of the sport then objectives for the national interest can be met,” said Roxas.
The UFL and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) have enjoyed a close relationship and it showed last February, when UFL club owners agreed to adjust the league’s schedule to allow for the Azkals’ preparations for the Challenge Cup.
“We will continue to pray for the success of the team. They’ve made it to the finals and are one victory away from joining the elite Asian footballing countries in the Asian Cup, which is to be held in Australia next year,” Roxas added.
“We will continue to work with the PFF in sustaining the growth of football in our country.”
The Azkals will play Palestine for the Challenge Cup title on Saturday, 12 midnight, with the winner also clinching a spot in the prestigious Asian Cup in 2015.