By Olmin Leyba
MANILA, Philippines – It looks like the Philippine Under-23 Azkals will get their shot at the football competitions of the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
No less than the chef de mission of the Phl delegation, Julian Camacho, has said that the Philippine Olympic Committee's SEA Games management committee (mancomm) is opening the doors to the Pinoy booters' return stint in the biennial games after getting dropped from the contingent in 2013.
“There are eight or nine players from the Azkals who are under-23 and maganda naman performance nila(they performed well) so bibigyan natin sila ng chance (we’ll give them a chance),” Camacho, who also heads the mancomm that screens the contingent, said.
“In a sense, they’ve not been joining the SEA Games (in many editions), so we’ll give them the chance to prove themselves in Singapore,” Camacho further said.
The Pinoy booters missed out on the action in the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar after failing to get the nod from the POC to join the delegation.
For the Singapore joust, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said it is ready to prepare and send a competitive team which will be beefed up by the likes of Azkals mainstays Amani Aguinaldo and Daisuke Sato.
The U-22 squad will have its hands full in the 2015 conclave, though, especially with the core of the squad that ruled the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup last year carrying the fight for Thailand.
The Phl last participated in the SEAG in 2011 in Indonesia, placing sixth and last in Group B with three points on one win and four losses.
Prior to the Singapore SEAG, PFF president Nonong Araneta said the U-22 Azkals will hold training camps and compete in the qualifiers for the 2016 Asian Football Confederation U-23 championship this March in Thailand.
The U-22 Azkals are in Group G with North Korea, host Thailand and Cambodia, hoping to land in the Top 2 to boost their chance of making it to the final round where three berths to the Rio Olympics will be at stake.