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Freddy Gonzalez vows to maintain momentum for Filipinas

Philippine Football Federation Director of National Teams Freddy Gonzalez sought to allay fears that the Philippine Women’s National Football Team will lose its momentum after the sudden exit of team manager Jeff Cheng from the program.

The former national team player immediately addressed the elephant in the room during a press conference today at Studio 300 in Makati.

“On the national team side, obviously it’s really unfortunate,” said Gonzalez. “I did not expect Jeff to depart. It’s something that, unfortunately, at this point, we’re gonna have to deal with and work with. But the way we set up the men’s team the last few months has been very great and organized. We’re just gonna be applying the same thing to the women’s team moving forward. We’re gonna treat it the same way we treat the men’s team,” he continued.

“We just did a turnover with Jeff this morning. That’s probably gonna take the whole week to iron everything out. I’m also gonna be speaking with the players and the coaching staff this week as well to talk about everything and what’s gonna be changing moving forward.

“The plans for the women moving forward would be to get the team together in the upcoming FIFA window, and then during the November window, we will have women’s games here playing in between our home matches in the Mitsubishi Cup,” he added.

There are many uncertainties now that Cheng has exited the program. What is certain for now, though, is that Gonzalez is stepping up to take over the Filipinas management, at least for the time being.

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For him, it is about instilling good practices in both the senior men’s and women’s national teams, including following the same review process that was done with the men’s team while keeping what works for the women’s team.

“With regards to the coaching staff, I’m gonna have a meeting with them this week. That’s under review as well. As much as we appreciate them, we did the same thing with the men’s team. We’re gonna apply the same process with the women’s team to see if that’s the best way to continue or if we need to move in another direction,” he said.

“Right now, the women’s program is still gonna continue as Jeff planned it out. We’re not gonna change anything with regards to the player pool. In fact, we’re looking to add more players. You’re still gonna see Sarina Bolden and all of them. I have a Zoom meeting with them on Wednesday,” he furthered.

“On that aspect, nothing is gonna change. We’re gonna take a look at the processes and everything these guys have done over the last few years to see if any changes need to be made and if anything needs to get better.”

When Cheng announced his departure, a lot of talk centered on politics again ruining a good thing in Philippine sports. On the surface, many people wondered why something that was not broken suddenly needed to be fixed.

This is one such concern that Gonzalez addressed head-on. He insisted that it is up to him and his team to continue the successful program that Cheng has left and that the relationship between both men remains cordial.

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“At least my department doesn’t want to break up something that has been working. If it is indeed the best way to do things, we’re gonna keep doing it. If we find areas where we can make improvements, we’ll make improvements,” said the former national team player.

“This is an unfortunate situation that I’ve been put in, but we’re ready to handle it. We’ve set up the national teams’ department in a way where we’re capable of handling all of these things. It’s not something I’m worried about,” he added.

“I just wanna make sure that all the media and fans know that all the great work that Jeff has done through the years is gonna be continued. It’s not gonna be destroyed or changed just because of this transition. I have a great relationship with Jeff. Like I said earlier, I was with him for breakfast this morning, and we were chatting about the whole thing. Things are gonna go on as normal, and where we can make improvements, we will.”

Ultimately, time will tell how things will pan out. One thing that can be said about Gonzalez, though, is that he is not afraid to stick his neck out.

For him, the challenge is to maintain the program’s success or even surpass it since it has brought the country great renown in the last few years.

“I hold myself accountable, and this is something we’re not just going to ignore,” he said. “This is something we’re gonna work hard to maintain and keep the women’s program going and get the men’s program to be on par with the women’s.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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