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PFF, Smart U-22 Championships set to begin

The PFF Smart U-22 Championships is a tournament which will be held starting in October 2015 and shall culminate on January 2016.

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The PFF Smart U-22 Championships is a tournament which will be held starting in October 2015 and shall culminate on January 2016. The U-22 Championships sponsored by Smart Telecommunications and organized by the PFF is a nationwide football tournament which aims to increase the participation from provincial teams.

The group stage matches shall be held in various locations in the Philippines while the historic Panaad Sports Complex in Bacolod City will be the host from the quarter-final games up to the third place playoff and the finals. A total of fifty-six matches will be played in this tournament.

The winners of the said tournament will form the core of the team which shall represent the Philippines in the next edition of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy. The Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy is a tournament where South-East Asian countries compete against each other at the Under-21 years old level. Other players scouted in the U-22 Championships may be selected to join the champion team for their campaign in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy.

Players for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games can be selected from this tournament as well.

Interestingly, no United Football League (UFL) team or a selection from the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) has joined the U-22 Championships. PFF General Secretary Atty. Ed Gastanes of the PFF shared, “You know most of the players in Manila play in UFL and NCRFA up to now hasn’t intimated whether it would send a selection team or a club. So there’s no representative from NCRFA.” Gastanes added that it’s understandable since collegiate leagues such us the UAAP and NCAA will be holding their respective football tournaments by then.

However, Gastanes didn’t see the lack of NCR based players as an issue. He stated that it could become an opportunity for unknown players from the provinces to shine since there are no UFL teams involved and he believed that most NCR based players came from the province anyway.

“This will be exciting. We can see the number of real good players we can have from the provinces, the amateur players. Maybe some really talented players are waiting on the wings and this is a golden opportunity for them because UFL clubs will not compete in this competition.”

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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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