THE preparation and participation of the Philippine Azkals in the just-concluded Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in the Maldives came with a hefty price tag, according to Philippine Football Federation sources who declined to be identified.
Formed barely three months ago, the Azkals’ total expense for their Challenge Cup stint exceeded P10 million and could even reach P20 million once the final tab comes in, the source said.
“The air fare of the team alone to the Maldives was around P6 million,” said one source, who was tasked to monitor the team’s expenses. The squad handled by American coach Thomas Dooley flew directly from their training camp in Bahrain to the tournament site.
Another insider said the federation also had to periodically wire contingency funds to the squad in the resort island nation in the Indian Ocean “where the price of one can of regular Coke is nearly $5 (roughly P220).”
The Azkals also held a training camp in Qatar in April and played tune-up matches last March against the Malaysian national team in Kuala Lumpur and the Azerbaijan squad in Dubai last April as part of their build-up for the Challenge Cup.
The same sources added Dooley, a former US squad team captain and two-time World Cup veteran, received less than his predecessor, Michael Weiss, who reportedly had a monthly salary of 6,000 euros during his three-year tenure as Azkals coach.
The PFF hopes to offset part of the Azkals’ expenses from the local television broadcast of their matches, with ABS-CBN paying the federation P1.3 million for each televised match, or a total of P6.5 million for the five games they played in the Maldives.
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