THE Philippine Football Federation (PFF) sent a college team to the Asean Futsal Championship in Vietnam recently which won by Thailand over Malaysia, 4-3, in Vietnam.

The Filipino college players suffered humiliating defeats, 0-21 against Indonesia, 0-24 against Vietnam, 0-25 against Myanmar and 0-5 against Brunei.

I wonder how the players felt after the suffering those shameful defeats from the hands of our neighbors. I thought we are the No. 1 in the Fifa Rankings among Asean teams?

It must be painful. Very, very painful and shameful. But after a week, the pain should be gone but the shame remains. I pity the players and the coaching staff.

But this is just one tournament and there are more coming. It is time for the PFF to see what is wrong with our Futsal program. Is there a program? If there is none, then for God’s sake start one today.

Futsal is best for our country because the sport is played on a Futsal court which is as big as a basketball court. We have very few public football fields but our country has millions of basketball court from Aparri to Jolo.

The bright boys of the PFF knew for a long time that there is an ASEAN Futsal championship which was scheduled late last month in Vietnam. They did not form a team not until few weeks before the tournament. Once they knew that they could not form a team, they panicked and just picked some college players from a Manila University to represent the country. Is that new? No, it is the usual practice with usual shameful results.

On the bright side, the debacle in Vietnam should awaken the PFF and start to form a strong national Futsal team which will not bring shame to our country again.

In 1988 I brought a team from Don Bosco Boys Home in Banilad Cebu City to the National Coke Go Goal finals in Bacolod City. The team was ill prepared. The players malnourished, and under supported. We were humiliated by Barotac Nuevo of Iloilo 1-6 in our first match, then by Palawan 0-4 and then by Silliman University 0-3 to finish the elimination round winless and we went home early.

After that humiliation, I promised myself that if I ever qualify again to the National final, I will be prepared, I will win the title.

In 1996 Don Bosco Boys Home represented Cebu again in the National final. We came well prepared and well supported. We won the only National Coke Go For Goal title for Cebu by beating powerhouse West Negros College in the final at the packed Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

The PFF should learn from this story.