7 Cebuanos in the Little Azkals lineup for the AFC U13 Festival of Football

By Mars. G. Alison

Seven Cebuanos made it to the final 22-man lineup of the Philippine Under-13 (RP U13) tagged the Little Azkals, who are leaving today for Malaysia via Manila for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U13 Festival of Football from June 1 to 7.

The seven are Major Dean Ebarle (defender) of the Abellana National School (ANS); Mario Lorenzo Ceniza (midfield) of Springdale; Moiselle Angelo Alforque (midfield) and Vincent Lobitos (midfield) of the Don Bosco Technology Center (DBTC); Kintaro Miyagi (defender) of Bright Academy; Lawrence Colina (defender) of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF); and Lorenzo Genco (midfield).

Genco, a former student of the Cebu Learning Center (CLC) and a former member of the Cebu Elite Team arrived last week to join the training camp.

Genco, who is half-Italian, half-Filipino, followed his brother Carmelo to study in Italy and attend a football academy this year to further hone his football skills.

The youngest in the group, Genco, who goes to Tommaso Natale Football Academy, said he found it strange to be undergoing the training camp after his rigid training in Italy.

“It is more lax here, the coaches in Italy are very strict,” Genco said.

Genco’s inclusion in the team was earlier questioned by some parents of the Cebu Elite Under-13 group and the Cebu football community because he has not played in the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Festival of Football held in various regions over the summer.

Coach Oliver Colina defended his selection, saying it was his discretion as head coach of the team.

He also said that not all members of the national team played in the PFF Festival of Football.

Cebu Football Association (CFA) Richard Montayre and head of the PFF grassroots and youth development committee defended Colina’s selection.

According to Montayre, Genco may have attended the training camp for a short while, however, we cannot also discount the fact that the training he has had in Italy is way advance than what we have here.

He said that they wanted to send a good team to an international tournament and not a team of politicians.

He added this is one of the reasons why we opt to get Filipinos who are abroad to man our teams—because of their advance training.

“If we are going to follow their reasoning then perhaps half of the Azkals should also not play in the national team,” said Montayre.

They may not be here in the country but they are Filipinos and have every right to be part of the team. Inquirer News