By Barry Viloria
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the Azkals’ entry to the AFC Challenge Cup tournament proper last March, the Philippines fell 4 rungs in the latest FIFA world rankings.
In the ranking table published on FIFA’s website Wednesday, the Philippines fell to 155th from 151st place.
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking
A Philippine Football Federation (PFF) official, however, told abs-cbnNEWS.com that it is unfazed by the development.
“The FIFA considered the strength of a team’s opponent as the most major aspect of the change in rankings,” PFF technical director Aris Caslib said.
“’Yung last 5 matches natin, we took on teams with lower rankings,” he added, referring to the Azkals’ matches against Mongolia (formerly 181), Myanmar (161), Palestine (178) and Bangladesh (179).
In the said matches, the Philippines recorded 2 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss. The Azkals then made it into the AFC Challenge Cup. Tournament proper that will be held next year.
Caslib said the lower-ranking teams, on the other hand, were the ones who gained points after facing the Azkals.
“Sila ‘yung nagbe-benefit sa laban natin sa kanila,” Caslib said.
Another reason, the PFF official said, is that the Philippines’ matches were done in the regional level.
“Again, people will ask why the Philippines has dropped despite the Azkals’ recent performances,” he said, adding, “Filipinos should understand these things.”
Rankings not big a deal
For Caslib, a team’s FIFA ranking is not a major factor for one to dominate a match.
“Even in the FIFA World Cup itself, it’s not the team’s standing which will determine who will win,” he said.
Caslib urged Filipinos to continue supporting the Azkals.
“At the end of the day, we ask Filipinos to support the Azkals in their next international games, and tell them how beautiful the football sport is,” he said.
The Philippine Azkals will next face Sri Lanka in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The home-and-away tie will take place on June 29 and July 3. Source