With the pandemic halting all sports activities for the past two years, veteran Cebuano football coach Glen Ramos sees the U19 team needs a lot of catching up to do before it is ready for the Visayas eliminations of the Philippine Football Federation U19 championships in June in Cebu.
“Fitness wise, we are just at 30 percent. So we have a lot of work to do. We also have to work on the chemistry of the team,” said Ramos.
The Central Visayas Regional Football Association recently released the list for the 28-man squad, three more than the normal to have some contingencies should any of the players get injured during the training.
Those who made the squad are goalkeepers mark Mayor, Zraloh Legara, Jonathan Pacaldo, defenders Franz Salimbot, Eugine Tillor, Brylle Mangubat, Uriel Villacarlos, Rhey Ann Bontilao, Nathan Lingatong, John Vincent Largado, Stephen Vazarte, Edgar Paredes III, Zram Ebrado, midfielders Stephen Soria, Paul Mapula, Matthew Suico, Michael Ybanex, Carsten Pumareja, Joseph Garces, Richard Songalia, Ludwig Badayos, Bebong Lampares, Frances Vercide, Gianrenzo Custado, Kyrel Bangot and strikers Simon Del Campo, Mark Zafra and Yoji Selman.
Ramos said in the training pool’s first friendly, before it was cut from 35 to 28, the players had a hard time against a squad of Cebuano collegiate playeres who are studying in Manila and the Don Bosco Boys Home. Ramos said the poor showing was understandable since it was the players first since the pandemic started.
But in the second series of friendlies, the team did better and beat a squad of Ateneo alumni, 6-1 and DBBH, 4-1.
Ramos said they will also have another series of friendlies in May.
Ramos also said that though this is a U19 tournament, some of the players are a year or two years younger than the cutoff. He said he was forced to get younger playres since some of the players in the U19 age group have either left Cebu or have gained a lot of weight during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, team manager Jhojo Partosa said the team is looking for partner sponsors and those interested may contact the CVFA.