‘PFF cannot meet Younghusbands’ demands’By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippines opens its campaign in the four-nation Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup against Guam at Rizal Memorial Stadium tonight with the specter of Phil and James Younghusband’s absence hanging over the national side.
The Azkals will be without two of their key players who were dropped from the lineup because of “commitment issues and economic and non-economic demands.”
National coach Michael Weiss remains upbeat even without the Fil-British brothers, who have accounted for 33 goals since they made their senior debuts in 2006.
“We have prepared well and there is good spirit in the team,” said Weiss, whose squad will be looking to end a 99-year wait for an international title.
The Azkals will be seeking a repeat win against Guamanians whom they crushed, 3-0, last June in Bacolod.
Philippine Football Federation communications head Ebong Joson revealed there “are certain economic and non-economic demands from the Younghusbands which we cannot meet.”
Without giving specifics, Joson said the PFF cannot even afford half of what Phil Younghusband “counter-offered” in the contract they gave in exchange for full commitment from national players until the 2012 Suzuki Cup in November.
But the brothers, in a separate press conference, said they were ready to accept the offer, although they have yet to sign the contract.
“We will even play for the national team for free,” said James.
Another tricky issue on the contract, James said, was their involvement on promotional activities of the team, which they cannot totally commit to.
The Younghusbands have a myriad of activities apart from the national team as they are also under contract with UFL club Loyola Meralco. They also run their own football academy aside from their commercial endorsement deals.
“They have performed but now they’ve overstretched a little bit too much,” said Weiss, noting that the two players have missed training sessions and matches in lieu of other commitments.
“They made a promise (of being there) and I said I cannot tolerate that you are not in the team most of the time.”
The German coach added: “We only asked for their total commitment from September to November.”
Weiss was noncommittal when asked if he was ready to give the brothers another chance after the Peace Cup.
“We’re still ready to play for the national team,” said the brothers.