The Philippine men’s Under-22 national football team sets its sight on the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games following its campaign in the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship 2018 Qualifiers.
Held from July 19 to 23 at the National Olympic Stadium in the Cambodian capital of Phonm Penh, the qualifying tournament served as one of the Filipino booters’ preparation for the upcoming SEA Games.
The PH XI absorbed a heavy 0-8 loss to Japan in its opening match. It fought valiantly in the succeeding games but still lost to China, 0-2, and qualifier host Cambodia, 0-1.
Philippine Football Federation general secretary Edwin Gastanes remains optimistic despite the national squad’s winless run.
“It was a tough group for our Philippine U-22 team facing the likes of powerhouses Japan, China, and host Cambodia. However, our team showed grit in all of their matches which gives promise to our upcoming SEA Games campaign,” said Gastanes.
“We hope that they rise through the adversity,” he added.
National head coach Marlon Maro also remained upbeat heading into the biennial meet.
“What is important is that we were able to play as a team. Now we have to go back home and prepare for the SEA Games and improve on our weaknesses,” said Maro.
The PH booters will start their campaign in Kuala Lumpur against Cambodia on August 15 followed by other group stage matches against Indonesia on August 17, Vietnam on August 20, Thailand on August 22 and Timor-Leste on August 24.