MANILA (23 Oct 2011) – Despite being drawn into what was termed as a ‘favourable’ draw’, Philippines national Under-23 team manager Dan Palami said that there is no room for complacency and that the squad must work harder to make their presence felt.
The draw for the much-anticipated men’s football event at the 26th edition of the SEA Games this year was made this week with Philippines being placed in the easier Group B against last edition’s runners-up Vietnam, Laos, Timor Leste, Myanmar and Brunei.
In Group A are defending champions Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia.
“It seems that we are in favourable group but that is not a reason for us to be complacent. It’s not a walk in the park that’s why we need to train harder,” Palami told www.aseanfootball.org.
The Philippines will be led by veterans Manny Ott and Jason de Jong, who had both played for the senior team in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 qualifiers.
The other notable players are Carlos de Murga, Jeffrey Christiaens and siblings Mark and Matthew Hartmann, who had also played for the senior team at the recent Long Teng Cup in Chinese Taipei.
Roland Mueller will man the goal in place of regular Neil Etheridge.
“We have young and good players. It’s a more decent lineup and stronger. So our target this time is a little modest which is just to make the semi-finals and finish at the podium,” added Palami.
The Philippines squad left for Japan for their final phase of preparation Last friday.
SEA GAMES 2011 GROUPINGS
GROUP A: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia
GROUP B: Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Timor Leste, Myanmar, Brunei