PHILIPPINE Youth coaches Marlon Maro and Mari Aberasturi are impressed by the large turnout of the Mindanao trials for the AFF U16 championship in Cambodia but they are also a little bit worried by what they have so far seen on the pitch.
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) department head for education, Maro said he has found some talents but also found players who lacked basic football skills, and players with wrong attitude.
“This is probably the result of the ‘Festival Syndrome’. There are just no
or very few 11-aside competitions and what we have here are too many small sided festivals. There are no international competitions in small sided festivals. The football organizers here should concentrate in organizing 11-sided competitions," he said.
Maro, a former Philippine Navy player and former captain of the Philippine football team long before it was called the Azkals, also said there are lots of players who also do not have the winning attitude.
“My grandmother moves faster than some of them. International football is now quick, and tough. In one spurt of a second you lose the ball and the opponents can score at any moment," he added.
He, however, praised the enthusiasm of most of the players. “Imagine some of them come from as far as North Cotabato, Zamboanga city and Davao. They travelled for long hours and spend their own money just to join this once in a lifetime trials. We appreciate their efforts," he said.
The Mindanao leg has so far the biggest number of aspirants in the four leg trials. Some 40 plus players showed up for the Bacolod trials and more than 30 in Cebu. Coach Maro is even planning to come back here in CdO for the U19 team trials in July.
Ph U16 head coach Mari Aberasturi, for his part, has already eyed few players who could make the Baguio camp but refused to name them.
“I have my list already. There are a few who have made impressions. Some of them are good but they showed up out of shape. We will shape them up during the boot camp," he added.
So far the two holdovers from last year’s line-up Robert Wilson of Corpus Christi High School and Serge Cordoba of Andres Bonifacio College of Dipolog City showed up in form. The duo were leading the drills. The trials wrapped up yesterday afternoon.
The PFF will send letters before the training camp starts in various FA’s nationwide to announce who made it to the training pool.
The Manila leg of the trials will be held on May 16-17 at the San Beda field in Mendiola.
The training camp will be on the 29th of May.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 14, 2016.