MANILA, Philippines – Grumblings from several Southeast Asian teams kicked off the Philippine hosting of the 2019 SEA Games.
Football teams from the 11-country regional meet started arriving over the weekend, but local organizers turned out to be ill-prepared.
Timor Leste waited for almost 3 hours at the airport before its football team got picked up, only to be shuttled at the “wrong hotel.”
Myanmar’s under-22 football team also waited for “a very long time” at the airport and complained that the bus that picked them up was “not comfortable.”
Thailand also brought to the organizers’ attention the lack of rooms, noting that they had to squeeze in 3 people in each room that can only accommodate two.
The Thais, who are billeted at Century Park in Manila, also said they had to cancel practice because organizers scheduled it at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna, which is approximately 38 kilometers away, and given the traffic, it might take the team two hours to reach the venue.
Cambodia also found out that their rooms weren’t ready when they arrived and the athletes ended up waiting at a hotel conference room.
Football action gets going on Monday, November 25, at the Rizal Memorial Complex, where renovation remains ongoing. (LOOK: Rizal Memorial still under construction days before 2019 SEA Games)
The 30th SEA Games officially opens on Saturday, November 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.