Azkals, Malditas offered Asiad berths

Posted at 02/13/2014 1:35 PM

MANILA - The Asian Games Task Force of the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission will give the U-23 Azkals and the Malditas “provisional slots” in the Team Phl delegation to this year’s Asiad in Incheon, South Korea.

But POC chairman and task force member Tom Carrasco reiterated that the stints of the U-23 Azkals and Malditas will be subject to the result of the qualifying tournaments that both will go through prior to the quadrennial games in Incheon, Korea.

Carrasco and other members of the the task force met with PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes and Malditas coach Ernie Nierras yesterday and told them the U-23 Azkals and Malditas will be given their chance to join the contingent.

“They said they will seek to qualify so we’ll wait for the results. If they make it, we see no problem in approving their stints as qualifiers,” Carrasco told The STAR. “In the meantime, they can submit pools of players for Team Phl.”

According to the PFF, there’s still no advisory from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as to the details of the Asian Games qualification rounds. Usually, qualifiers are held two or three months before the actual tourney, with only 12 or 16 berths to be awarded.

Carrasco also took the opportunity to laud the PFF’s decision to prepare its U-20/U-21 team for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games as early as now.

“I welcome their move. That’s the right way to do it, start the program early instead of hastily putting up a team and fielding it to battle immediately. Football is on the right track and we hope other NSAs (National Sports Associations) will follow their lead,” the POC exec said.

The PFF had said it would skip the 2015 SEA Games and instead focus the training of its U-20/U-21 side under Australian Jim Fraser for the 2017 edition in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the task force gave Gilas Pilipinas (20 players) and the Phl Blu Girls (30 athletes) outright slots to the Incheon meet.

Fiba World Cup-bound Gilas qualified on the strength of its silver medal in last year’s Asian tilt in Manila and the Blu Girls made it by virtue of their fourth place finish in the Continental tilt.