MANILA - Football teams from several countries taking part in the Southeast Asian Games confirmed on Sunday that they had problems in transportation, hotel accommodations, food and scheduling practice sessions.
Football coaches and managers from Timor Leste, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand shared what they experienced upon arriving in the Philippines.
Cambodia football coach Felix Dalmas said their shuttle from the airport to their hotel was delayed, and they were not informed about the reasons for this.
“We waited 8 to 9 hours to get to our hotel," Dalmas said.
Dalmas said that while the situation "wasn't ideal," the members of the team "adjusted."
"But things happen, we adjust, we evolve, that's one of the qualities of our team as well. The guys just took it with the best spirit,” he said.
Fox Sports Asia earlier reported that the Timor-Leste football team was also left stranded for hours at the airport, and then taken to the wrong hotel.
Timor Leste football coach Fabiano Flora called out the SEA Games organizers saying he hopes the same incident will not happen again.
“I think all nations deserve respect. But now, it's finished, we just focus on the ASEAN games,” Flora said.
Thailand football team manager Akira Nishino also confirmed they had issues with food being served to the team members. A Facebook post earlier said the same food was being served over and over again to members of the Thai team.
He had one request for the SEA Games organizers.
“I would want the players to have a good environment and good perfect meal. I’m wishing the organizer can provide for our team players,” Nishino said through his personal assistant and English translator.
He added that the team’s practice on Saturday had to be canceled due to heavy traffic from the hotel to their practice venue.
“As of yesterday (Saturday), it's not only us. Timor Leste too. It takes 2 hours. It's not realistic, we cannot make it by the time, so we have to manage to make training in the streets last night,” Nishino said.
Nishino, however, said the team will not take the situation as an excuse and will continue to perform at their best.
Ramon Suzara, COO of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) also confirmed that the
Myanmar national team was made to travel in a crowded bus due to the apparent lack of transport facilities.
Myanmar football coach Velizar Popov, however, said the team remains focused on their goal for the SEA games.
“If we start with excuses on the first day, we will find excuses always, so we are here. For me that (issue) is not the most important,” he said.
Also present at the press conference were football coaches and managers from Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, and Singapore.
PHISGOC has apologized to the athletes for the inconvenience and confusion on transportation and hotel arrangements.
“We acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better,” PHISGOC said Sunday.
“We noted that there are at least 3 incidents of transportation and hotel arranged glitches,” PHISGOC admitted.