Craig and I arrived in Sri Lanka earlier today 😀 Tired from travelling from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, waiting for six hours then flying to Colombo we have to say how lucky we’ve been today. Finding our hotel was easy and for a cheap price it’s a lovely place. If anyone comes to Sri Lanka and wants to stay near the airport check out Full Moon Garden Hotel to stay at. Pool, fantastic food, cheap prices and worked out well. We spent some time there just catching up on everything and unpacking before heading to the beach. In my defence I’ve done some work, reading for Uni, though it is odd reading Hayek’s the Road to Serfdom when I’m on the road to the Azkals in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country so far, so it feels a bit strange wishing they will lose on Wednesday but that’s why we’re here. The Sri Lankans are lovely people and haggling so far has been fun, but we just heard that the press conference is at 10am so we’ll be up early to head down for that. A massive thanks goes to Bob Guerrero for letting us know the details as we’d assumed it was in the afternoon, thanks for teaching these two amateurs :p Afterwards I’ll write another update, seeing how everyone else is doing, getting some interviews hopefully and an updated predicted lineup the day before.
Until then here’s the latest news from the Azkals:
According to Cedelf on Twitter, @cedelfpt, Ray Jonsson will be flying back tomorrow and will be playing the day after, likely in the left-back role predicted earlier in the COUNTDOWN TO SRI LANKA. Soccercentral report the news of Jerry Lucena’s injury and Jonsson’s absence here: http://soccercentral.ph/news/michael-weiss-confident-despite-setbacks. Jonsson had club commitments playing for Grindavik in the Icelandic Premier League but is flying out to join the rest of the Azkals. Interestingly, however, Grindavik have another game on July 2 and so it remains to be seen whether Jonsson could make it back for the second leg. Hopefully by that time, though, the Philippines will have established a dominant enough lead to give other players valuable experience in the World Cup qualifiers.
In other news, two ex-national coaches have claimed that the World Cup Qualifiers ares “already a done victory [for the Philippines]”. As reported by Tempo Manager Dan Palami shares confidence but not the same over-confidence, saying that “Just by judging the team that Sri Lanka had in the AFC Challenge Cup and what we’ve achieved in training camp in Germany, I must say our chances to win are good”. To see such positive spirits with Philippine football is great, though players and fans must be cautious of becoming over-confident and underestimating their Sri Lanka opponents who sit 13 places below their Philippine counterparts in the FIFA rankings.
The Philippines are right to be confident for the upcoming game but over-confidence could see a collapse of the team who have swung through highs and lows with two 4-1 victories followed by 4-0 and 5-0 losses to sterner opposition as reported earlier. With the much stronger opposition of Kuwait waiting to face the winner of the Philippines v Sri Lanka the players would certainly appreciate the vote of confidence from the fans, some of whom have been overly critical of an embryonic side who regardless of the result still represent the nation.
For more commentary about the team and the expected lineup wait until tomorrow, but for now we’re pleased to be able to relax after getting a lot of work done for our respective charities, the Fairplay for All Foundation and the Asian Students Christian Foundation. For more inspiring stories of how Filipinos succeed against the odds, check out this documentary we made: http://www.youtube.com/user/roymondous?blend=2&ob=5#p/u/0/oOBU4NkK-CM
Next on the COUNTDOWN TO SRI LANKA: the Final Countdown
Co-director of the Fairplay for All Foundation which runs Payatas FC, Kasiglahan FC and Kasiglahan Girls FC. Check out the charity and donate to support grassroots football providing education and homes for street kids: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fairplay-For-All-Foundation/163370857062294