Azkals team manager Dan Palami issues statement on controversies surrounding the Azkals

Dan Stephen Palami, the team manager of the Azkals, has issued a statement over the Azkals controversies.

That's in relation to the issues being thrown against the team, particularly its extremely popular player Phil Younghusband, who recently had an issue with Angelica Panganiban.

Last week, Angelica commented on Twitter that she's against Phil entering showbiz.

She also took notice of the Azkals getting lots of donations and alleged that they're now big-headed people.

Angelica also hit the Azkals on talking too much about their showbiz crushes. (Azkals player Chieffy Caligdong named Angelica as his showbiz crush and even challenged Angelica's boyfriend Derek Ramsay for a one-on-one football game.)

Some other people also are unhappy with the Azkals getting too much media attention, and one of them is TV host / radio dj Mo Twister, who even advised the media to focus on other national athletes who have achieved more than the Azkals.

Now, Dan Palami faces the controversies. He issued an statement on his Facebook early this week before the Azkals left for their training in Japan.

According to Palami, the Azkals deserve all the admiration, the endorsement offers and the opportunities that come their way after all what they've gone through to be where they are now.

He also assures the fans that his players aren't distracted by the controversies and will play their best on March 15 for the 2nd leg of their AFC 2012 Challenge Cup pre-qualifying game against Mongolia.

Read his statement, which aims to bring closure to the issues:

"Following the recent PSA awards, the Azkals start their Japan training this week still in high spirits. It was amazing to be recognized by great achievers in sports, and we thank Manny Pacquiao and all our other fellow awardees for their encouragement.

While most sectors have welcomed the Philippine's football renaissance, some concerns about the potential distraction of fame and celebrity for players have resulted in unfortunate controversies. I would prefer to keep silent on matters off the pitch, but some issues persist and these unwarranted doubts can’t be healthy for the team. As manager, therefore, I would like to categorically assure everyone that the coaches and I are taking all steps necessary to ensure that the Azkals always give their best. We are the first to call out any Azkal whose game is threatened by ‘distractions’ in any form.

With so many new aspirants for the national team, the competition for spots has become more intense, and I can tell you that the Azkals are working harder than ever. Every Azkal who has made it this far has earned his spot through hard work, talent, and ability to work well with the team. As long as each one fulfills his professional responsibilities, I wouldn't interfere in a player's personal life or bar him from undertaking projects in other fields.

The Azkals have endured so much to get to where they are now. All this time when they played for the Philippines, the Azkals would lose income because of time spent away from better-paying jobs. Compared to football players in other countries, our Azkals receive a mere pittance, and yet they play on. If admiration, endorsements and other opportunities are now coming their way, I hope none of us will begrudge them a little taste of their well-deserved victory. If they are able to build up football and other Azkals through exposure to other fields, I wouldn't withhold that from them either.

We respect everyone's opinion and accept that in some matters, there will be conflicting views. Still, we hope that any differences in perspective foster only healthy debate, and not degrade any individual or any other sport. As we prepare for our match in Mongolia, we hope to bring closure to polarizing disagreements and bring focus to what every sport is really all about: bridging differences and bringing people together.

Mabuhay tayong lahat!"

About M.I.

Mykiru is an entertainment blogger, having been named as one of the Top 10 Pinoy Showbiz Resources in the Philippines. For a decade now, has been delivering the latest, the hottest and most trending issues in the country.

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