UFL president praises Azkals for Challenge Cup success
MANILA, Philippines - United Football League (UFL) president Randy Roxas lauded the combined efforts and massive contribution made by members of the Philippine national team playing in the league after the Azkals secured a spot in the finals of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup in Maldives.
There are 14 players from different UFL squads that are on the Azkals’ current roster that are seeing action in the Challenge Cup where the Philippines is set to face Pakistan in Friday’s (Saturday midnight PH time) finals.
"The entire UFL organization is elated with the [Azkals’] historic semifinal win against Maldives last night. We are especially proud of our [UFL] boys for they have shown that they can compete at a high level and can contribute just as much as the teams’ foreign based players,” said Roxas in a statement.
The Azkals have scored a total of seven goals—six of which were scored by UFL players. One of those goals was Kaya Football Club’s Chris Greatwich’s dramatic strike in the Azkals’ 3-2 win over host Maldives in their semifinal knockout match.
(RELATED: Chris Greatwich's goal to remember)
Even Global FC youngsters Amani Aguinaldo of Davao City and Japanese born Filipino Daisuke Sato were instrumental in the Azkals’ win as they played the full 120 minutes against Maldives, justifying American coach Tom Dooley’s confidence in the talent the UFL players brought to the national team.
“Our passage to the final goes to show that when sports bodies come together and work for the common good of the sport then objectives for the national interest can be met," said Roxas.
Roxas added the UFL’s close coordination with the Philippine Football Federation also helped form a strong backbone for the Azkals.
UFL club owners, in February this year, met with Dooley and PFF officials where they agreed to adjust the league’s schedule to help the Azkals’ Challenge Cup preparations.
"We will continue to pray for the success of the team. They've made it to the finals and are one victory away from joining the elite Asian footballing countries in the Asian Cup, which is to be held in Australia next year. We will continue to work with the PFF in sustaining the growth of football in our country,” Roxas said.
Kaya FC’s Anton del Rosario, OJ Porteria and Kenshiro Daniels; brother James and Phil Younghusband, and Simon Greatwich of Loyola Meralco Sparks FC; Stallion FC’s Simone Rota and Ruben Doctora; Ceres-La Salle FC’s Patrick Reichelt; Green Archers United FC’s Patrick Deyto and Global FC’s Jason de Jong were the other UFL players on the Azkals’ roster. - Rappler.com