MANILA, Philippines -- For football players Phil and James Younghusband, being reportedly referred to as "prima donnas" by Philippine Azkals coach Michael Weiss is still a matter for clarification.
"Coach Weiss -- English is not his native language... so it's difficult. Sometimes things are misheard or sometimes misunderstood," Phil said during a press conference for an endorsement launch on Tuesday, when asked for his reaction to Weiss' reported reference to them shortly after the Azkals' championship win in the recently Philippine Football Peace Cup.
Last Saturday, during the Philippine football team's post-match press conference, Weiss was quoted as saying that the current Azkals line-up is "without prima donnas... people who think they already have achieved something in football."
In September, the Azkals management unveiled the team's roster for the Peace Cup, with notable absences being Phil and James Younghusband, who play as striker and midfielder respectively.
"Unless we speak to Coach Weiss, we don't really know what he meant by that. But people can interpret the way they want," James said.
"We know Coach Weiss, and sometimes the words that come out of Coach Weiss sound like they mean something than what he actually means. Some people misunderstood other than the way he meant it, it's difficult," Phil added.
Addressing questions on its decision to exclude the brothers in the Peace Cup roster, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) last week said it "cannot meet some of the demands of the brothers. They are economic, even half of which the PFF cannot match."
Weiss added that he has been understanding about the Younghusbands' numerous commitments off the pitch, "but now they over-stretched a little too much."
For Phil, however, opening communication lines with Weiss and the Azkals coaching staff is the first step to clarifying any unresolved issues.
"We've had a good relationship with Coach Weiss. And one thing we know is communication is important, so our reaction is -- we don't want to assume anything until we've spoken to him properly," Phil said.