In most football fora that I’ve seen lately, there were so many negative comments about the Philippine Azkals. The apparent silence on the team’s preparation for the forthcoming 2022 Mitsubishi Electric Cup set in late December until early January next year seems to be the issue that most fans, especially those who identify as such only when the team is winning and when it is convenient, are bashing team manager Dan Palami and the Azkals management staff. There were toxic comments, too, comparing the men’s national football team to the success currently enjoyed by the women’s team.
Even the funding of the Azkals has been questioned when some individuals who subtly, meaning mema lang, inserted themselves into the discussion that the funding for the Azkals is not being diverted to other national teams. Galing mo Boy! Magkano na ba nagastos mo sa team?
But moving on, the comments are valid, most of them anyway. And I share the frustrations of most of the fans, especially those who have done at least one good thing for the team. The Designated Kit Man caught with Palami a few days back and despite the bashers and the unsolicited advice that he has been hearing from know-it-all individuals and experts of Philippine football, he has this to say.
“Well right now, we are trying to determine who among the foreign-based players would be committed to join the Mitsubishi Electric Cup and from there, we will know the positions and the players that would occupy the rest of the squad.”
Palami said there is a current list of players but then again, this means nothing without their commitment when called up to the national training pool.
“Whoever is free and then we will check their schedules so that we can set friendlies. We intend to set friendlies this November and December,” he said.
Palami revealed that tuneup games against two countries are being arranged. He refused, however, to name the countries that will play tune-up games against the Azkals.
But one thing is for sure, the Azkals will have a camp before the Mitsubishi Cup and it will be in the Philippines. Palami said some players from the Azkals Development team will be called along with those coming from overseas. Some players who play for other clubs in the Philippines Football League are also being eyed to join the national pool. So fitness will not be an issue when the competitions begin. Palami says they are eyeing to set up the camp on November 13 until December 18.
“When confirmation is made on their availability to play for the country, then we will make the formal announcements [on who will be invited to the camp]. Indeed, we are talking to new players as well,” Palami said.
The Designated Kit Man saw the initial list of those who are being eyed to join the national pool, but unlike those who know it all, I will let Palami make the announcements soon.
At least 34 local-based players are on the list, coming from five teams playing in the domestic league. But then again, this is just the initial list.
Palami then dropped another bombshell.
“We are in the last stages of shortlisting, choosing from a short list of coaches that are being considered to lead the Azkals in the Mitsubishi Cup. Shortlist meaning three to four names,” Palami added. Palami, however, gave no clue on who these coaches were being considered. “Basta lahat sila coaches,” he said.
Some moral lesson here: You don’t bite the hand that feeds you because the foot, whether the left or the right, will kick you out.
“Like what I have said before, we are doing a revamp of the Azkals. Expect some changes at the same time. The fact that we have been silent doesn’t mean that we have not been doing anything. We just choose to keep our cards close to our chest. At the same time, we wanted the fans to focus on our women’s team who are doing very well. We are very happy for them,” Palami explained.
Just like most fans, Palami says the impact of the success of the women’s team means so much for Philippine football in general.
“I think full support should be given to the women’s team and we wanted to give this time to bask in their achievement. And it serves also as an inspiration for the men’s team to hopefully do as well as our women’s team has gone,” he added.
While we are at it, has someone asked Dan Palami how much he has spent for the Philippine Azkals the past few years, to be more specific this past decade?
Baka barya lang nagastos mo Boy!
On a personal note, please watch the next episode of 3PTS-Pambansang Tambayan ng Sports this Sunday, November 06, 2022, 2 to 3 p.m. at DZME 1530 kHz and the station’s FB page with The Designated Kit Man, Dennis Principe and Rommel Miranda. Interesting discussion is expected with Commissioner Bong Coo of the Philippine Sports Commission regarding her plans to advance sports in the country. Guests also include Veronica Litton and Chelsea Marie of the Manila Wrestling Federation, and the people behind the Philippine Ladies Tennis League.
Stay safe. Stay happy peeps!