The future of the Philippines national football team

The future of the Philippines national football team

Football in the Philippines ranks third as the most popular sporting activity. Basketball has occupied the first position over the years and its place may go unchallenged for years to come. With the country co-hosting the men’s FIBA world cup in 2023, the sporting activity popularity can only rise. This means that moving to the future, online betting Philippines especially on basketball and football bets will continue growing as betting enthusiasts try their luck.

History of the game in the Philippines

The popularity of football in the Philippines can be linked to the sport’s history. The sports history in the Philippines dates back almost a century ago when Filipino Paulino Riestra became the first in the Philippines and the whole of Asia to play for a European club. He was just fifteen years old when this happened.

He made history in Barcelona by becoming the all-time highest scorer, a record that has only be broken by Lionel Messi. Since then, several football clubs have been formed in the country, including Manila Club which started in 1906, Sandow Athletic, and Bohemian which were founded in 1906 and 1910 respectively.

Revival of the game

Football in the Philippines has not been vibrant as it is in other Asian countries. Attempts have been made to revive the sport, where international and local clubs have participated in the process.

The world football governing body, FIFA has been assisting the country to build and upgrade the game including establishing the Philippines Football Federation headquarters some years back. Other organizations which have been established in the quest of reviving the game include the United Football league and Men’s championship for local tournaments.

Performance of the national team

Despite having been in existence almost for over one century, the national football team which was formed in 1913 has won very few major international tournaments. The team has never qualified to play at the world major football event -the World cup, but has participated in the Asian Cup once in 2019. The best performance they have ever recorded was in the 2014 AFC Challenge tournament where they finished as runners- up, losing to Palestine.

Since 2010, the Philippines have started revitalizing the game, this is through a sports renaissance attempt where more incentives are being provided to increase soccer development and build fan support. This yielded results as the country participated for the first time in the Asian tournament winning a number of games and cups too. In 2012, they qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup and managed to record the first victory in World Cup qualification by humiliating Sri Lanka four goals to nil. In 2013, they had their best FIFA ranking where they were in position 127. They were also to win two minor tournaments and for the first time since the inception of the team, they won the 2012 Peace Cup. In 2016 when they played host to AFF Championship with Myanmar, they failed to progress.

The team did not qualify for the World Cup in 2018 but they had a successful period; they qualified for AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and also made history by defeating South Korea, one of the Asian football giants by one-nil. Although they lost to China and were edged out of the game when they were beaten 3-2 by Kyrgyzstan, where the team striker Stephan Schrock scored a historic goal.

Players to watch in the future

Moving into the future, the performance and successful revitalization of the Philippines football will depend on the following players.

Stephan Schrock

Schrock scored the historic goal that lifted the national psyche and gave hope to the football fraternity. At the national level, he has helped his team win several leagues title and in the last two seasons, he was the recipient of the Golden Ball. The professional footballer is a midfielder who also captains for the national team as well as his club United City. He is a versatile player who at one time played as a full-back; he has also been deployed as a winger and now he is a very strong midfielder.

The German-born midfielder switched to the Philippines from the youth international in Germany, where he was part of the team that won the 2011/2012 2. Bundesliga. He joined Ceres and later transferred to United City in 2016. The Number 12 player has scored in several international competitions including the recent game with Guam at the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

As a captain, Schrock has the responsibility of ensuring that the Philippine side performs better than in previous World Cup qualifiers. Although they have not started well, there is still hope that they can up their game and win some if not all the matches. The current squad seems determined to make a difference, putting the national team on the map.

Niel Etheridge

Etheridge is the goalkeeper for the national team. The Chelsea-trained professional football also plays for Championship club, Birmingham City. He played in UEFA Europe League while in Fulham. He has also played in several lower-tier clubs such as Charlton Athletic, Crewe Alexandra, and Bristol Rovers.

He is the first Filipino to play in the English Premier League where he was instrumental in helping his club-Birmingham City, earn a promotion to the prestigious tournament. He was part of the team that saw the historic Philippines qualification for the Asian Cup in 2018. Etheridge will be crucial in the team’s performance in the World Cup qualifiers and future tournaments.

The one-time winner of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Footballer of the year is in good form to take the lethal kicks from the strikers. With the world cup qualifiers matches lined up, the Philippines counts on the goalkeeper to make it for the first time. One question that one may ask is whether online betting Philippine wagers can bet on the team’s win. While judging from history, one may not be confident for a win but the team may surprise all when it wins some of the matches. With football they say, any team can surprise you. The Philippines is a team that has had a poor record of wins in its history, but anything can happen and the team emerges victorious in the quest to play at Qatar 2022.

Other players to watch include:

  • John Patrick Straub, the German-born Filipino who plays as a midfielder for Erzgebirge Aue
  • Niko de Vera who plays for Philippines club ADT
  • Iian Ramsay a midfielder for Prachuap in Thailand’s league
  • Carlos Alberto , the Cadiz CF defender
  • Raphael Obermair a midfielder at FC Magdeburg
  • Gerrit Holtmann the Vfl Bochum winger
  • Lloyd Fagerlie , and
  • Jesper Nyholm the defender for Swedish side Allsvenskan Club

The Philippines is not known for good performance in football, much of its sporting prowess is in Basketball and boxing. There has been an attempt to revitalize the game and some progress has been made; first by the team qualifying in several regional tournaments. Although the team has not started well in its World Cup qualification campaign, its fans are betting on the above players to make an impact in the continent.

Covid-19 is to blame for the first defeats especially the early June 2021 matches where the matches were moved in the last minute and crucial players missing the qualifiers due to restriction. The future is still bright for the team.


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