PFF eyes long-term program for futsal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2022 02:53 PM

People compete on court during the UEFA Women's Futsal Euro the semi-finals between Ukraine and Portugal at the Multiusos de Gondomar in Gondomar, Porto, Portugal, 15 February 2019. File photo. Octavio Passos, EPA-EFE.
People compete on court during the UEFA Women's Futsal Euro the semi-finals between Ukraine and Portugal at the Multiusos de Gondomar in Gondomar, Porto, Portugal, 15 February 2019. File photo. Octavio Passos, EPA-EFE.

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine futsal team is putting its best foot forward as it embarks on a "strategic and sustainable program" that should serve the country well in future international meets.

"We're trying to build a long-term program," said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) futsal head Kevin Coco during Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

A newly-formed women's team, known as the Pinays, will get the ball rolling with a two-game friendly against Guam, dubbed as "Pinay5 Futsal Faceoff," on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. 

The futsal program comes on the heels of the success of the Philippine women's national football team, which will make a maiden appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup next year in Australia/New Zealand.

"This is the first step in a long journey," added Coco, who was joined at the forum by Dutch coach Vic Herman, a seasoned futsal technician who has served as head coach to six national teams.

Herman first visited the country in 2015 but was tapped to officially share his expertise with the Philippine futsal team only last March. He has since been hired to take over the team full time.

The 69-year-old Herman, who has coached national teams from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iran, Malta, Thailand and Indonesia, has high hopes for Philippine futsal.

"I can describe it very easily. The Philippines has the talent. But we must do something. The gap is not too big but if you don't do anything the gap will get bigger and bigger," he said. "The goal is to bring them to the top."

For now, the team is made up of local-bred players because it's more practical to develop them first and boost the program than spend a lot of money bringing in players from other countries.

"What is the cost of that? The cost is so high to bring in players from Germany. Or should we put the money for the development of players here – players who live here who grew up here?" he said.

"There's so much more talent that we want to see here. But we already have the potential in this team. We play next week and then we will see," added Herman, adding that the goal is to be competitive in FIFA and AFC events.

Unfortunately, futsal is not in the calendar of events for next year's Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

"We want to put the Philippines in the best position possible," added Coco, who is counting on the support of the PFF and the Philippine Sports Commission under chairman Noli Eala.

The current team was culled from a pool of 30 players, some of them products of the Palarong Pambansa and Batang Pinoy, and from as far as Dipolog, Pagadian and Davao.

"We will work on the men's team as well but we're starting with the women's team first," he said, adding that futsal will provide Filipinas who are into football another avenue to show their skills.

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