The Philippine Football Federation remains confident about its grassroots development programdespite a disastrous campaign of the Philippine national football team in the Asian Football Confederation Under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers Myanmar last week.
PFF president Mariano Araneta admitted that a lot of work needs to be done to make the country’s younger football squads more competitive.
“We can see that we are behind as far as the U-19 or U-22 is concerned,” Araneta said during a press conference at the PFF office Friday. “It’s just a matter of really exposing them some more to competitions.”
The U-22 Azkals losing all of their matches in the tournament, often by huge margins, against South Korea, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Araneta was quick to point out that the Under-14 team, known as the Little Azkals, bagged a podium finish in a competition in Japan last June.
“It’s a good indication that in the youth level, we have the chance,” said Araneta.
The Little Azkals won two of its five matches in the Japan-East Asean Football Exchange Programme U-14 Youth Football Festival which features Japan and Southeast Asian neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
To strengthen grassroots football development in the country, the PFF is focusing on nationwide age group competitions, such as the PFF-Suzuki Under-23 National Cup where standouts such as national team standouts Joshua Beloya and Jinggoy Valmayor have been discovered.
Araneta also said the PFF is now waiting for the approval of assistance from the German government to support its programs.
Last year, the PFF also got an assistance package from Germany to boost football in the country.