Palami plans to build best team as Filipinos hunt for first SEA Games medal
Football patron Dan Palami intends to field what he described as the “most prepared team” yet for the men’s football competition of the Southeast Asian Games, which the country is hosting late this year.
Palami, the manager of the men’s national team who also serves as chair of the national teams’ committee, told the Inquirer he has already submitted a detailed plan to Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta that puts emphasis on maximizing the Fifa international window for the next two months.
Araneta said the coaching staff will hold a tryout in the next few weeks to allow local-based players an opportunity to make the squad.
These local-based players along with other prospects from abroad who have already been scouted by Palami and the coaching staff will compose the team that is looking to win the country’s first medal in the event.
Among the players who have already expressed desire to join the SEA Games squad is 21-year-old Filipino-Norwegian defender Elias Mordal.
“We will come up with the best prepared team for the SEA Games,” said Palami. “We are SEA Games hosts so it’s important that our team does really well in the competition.”
While the country has come up empty in the competition, the 1991 SEA Games team’s feat at Rizal Memorial Stadium, where it stunned then defending champion Malaysia, 1-0, in the group stage remains one of the biggest upsets in the competition.
Azkals coach Scott Cooper will also be involved with the SEA Games team together with Serbian coach Goran Milojevic and a still unnamed local coach.
“By September, we will have the short-listed domestic based players integrated with players abroad and they will train together during the Fifa dates while the senior team participates in the World Cup qualifiers,” said Palami.
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