MANILA, Philippines - "It was just too much."
Those were the words of Philippine head coach Michael Weiss after the German confirmed that brothers Phil and James Younghusband were dropped from the Azkals lineup for the Philippine Football Peace Cup.
The Philippine Football Federation (PPF) noted that a cause of the exclusion is that they are unable to meet the demands set by the brothers, both "economic and non-economic."
PFF Marketing and Communications Head Richard Joson clarified it was not a punishment to the brothers.
"This is not a sanction to anyone. They (the Younghusband brothers) were just not selected," he said.
In addition, Joson also noted that "communication lines are always open" between the PFF and the brothers to find a solution on the demands and clarified that there are no issues between the PFF, the United Football League and the Loyola Meralco Sparks, the club of the
Weiss said he has been in talks with the pair since June regarding their setup with the national team but the demands were too much for the coach to take.
The brothers reportedly could not commit fully to the team's off-the-field activities because of other promotional obligations. Weiss also complained of the brothers' engagements, which he felt negatively affected their focus in practice. He said continuing in that manner would affect their fitness and performance eventually. Weiss said he felt it was unfair for him to select the Younghusbands when other players were 100% committed to the team.
He added however, that he continues to have a good relationship with the two. Weiss emphasized that losing the Younghusbands should not be a cause for alarm.
"Trust the management and the coaches, we know what we are doing," he said.
For their part, the duo said they are willing to play for the Azkals for free -- despite initially asking for more financially. They admitted not being able to sign the contract ultimately not because of the money, but because they could not promise to attend every single team outing. They said they felt saddened about being dropped by the team given their commitment to the Azkals for whom they've played for since 2005, back when there was still no compensation.
The Younghusband brothers have been huge assets to the Philippine team. Striker Phil Younghusband is the team's top scorer, while James has played the role of team captain in past outings. Both are crowd favorites and have arguably become the faces of Philippine football since the sport exploded in the country following the Azakls' successful run in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. - Rappler.com