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PFF still silent on Taiwan ‘debacle’

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By Erel Cabatbat

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) remains mum on the Philippine National Team’s sorry performance in the recently-concluded Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) International Tournament held at the Municipal Stadium in Taipei.

The squad —composed of several national team members and standouts from the Philippines Football League and the UAAP— opened the tournament with a win but lost their last two games including an embarrassing 1-0 loss to Timor Leste yesterday.

It was Timor Leste’s first win against a national team in more than two years. Timor Leste last won a game in March 2015

What made the loss an even bitter pill to swallow was the fact that it happened on the seventh anniversary of the so-called Miracle in Hanoi.

In 2010, the Philippine Azkals shocked host and powerhouse Vietnam, 2-0 to enter the semifinals of the Suzuki Cup for the first time ever.

It signaled the renaissance of football in the Philippines after decades of being the laughing stock in the region.

It was also the spark that catapulted the Azkals’ rise as the number one team in Southeast Asia in the latest FIFA rankings.

But not for long.

The losses against Chinese Taipei and Timor Leste will definitely have a massive impact in the next rankings.

Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami says the Taiwan debacle could have been prevented.

“We understand the need to send a team to the tournament. Chinese Taipei is one of the few countries that supported and gave exposure to the Philippine Azkals when nobody then gave us a chance. But they should have consulted the national management for the call ups,” he says.

Palami said the team was assembled while the Azkals were in Nepal.

While the management made suggestions, Palami was told the team is already complete.

“We could have sent Harry Fäll and others to reinforce the team but the matter was already decided,” he added.