Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Pinoy football XI nears UK league promotion - abscbn news

Posted by chardyboy on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 0 comments

source: Edward Lao

LONDON, ENGLAND - As the 2010-2011 football season draws to an end, it is crunch time for many teams across the world.

The case is no different for the United Kingdom's first amateur Pinoy football squad, the Philippine Football Club (PFC).

The team of British-born Pinoys kept alive their hopes of promotion to the Premier Division of the West Hertfordshire League when they defeated Martin Baker Rovers Reserves, 3-1, in a tense Division One encounter last Saturday.

The league has already been won by Park Street Village, but second place and the final promotion spot is still up for contention.

With one game remaining, PFC currently sits in second place with 35 points after 17 matches. The London-based side need a win to guarantee promotion, but standing in the way are rivals Aldenham, who are also in the running with 34 points.

The 2 clubs will face each other at Aldenham's home ground on Saturday, May 14, in a season-defining clash that will determine who moves to the Premier League and who stays in Division One.

PFC lost their previous encounter with Aldenham 2-1, but have been in good form recently and will go into the match with confidence.

PFC player-manager Keith Townsend recognizes the magnitude of the fixture but does not feel the pressure to change anything.

"Going into our last game, we (the team) won't change our usual routine or habits. The game itself is obviously important and a win will ensure we are promoted to the Premier Division of the West Herts League, but I don't feel that this will phase the team," Townsend said.

"I will pick my starting 11 based on recent form and those who I think will have an impact. I will run the team through its instructions and during the warm up I will give each player their individual tasks. I feel that each player responds positively to being given individual instructions and in my experience you don't change a winning formula," he added.

Townsend and other PFC players have been running the club since losing 3 key figures at the start of the season, within the space of a few months. First to go was club founder Leo Jensen, followed by coaches Norman Parkin and Steve Conroy.

"The entire squad knows what's at stake and after some of the obstacles we've had to overcome this season, I think that win or lose, the team has shown it's true strength, determination and character to get to where we are," Townsend said.

"Getting promoted to the top tier of the football league would mean a great deal to myself, the team and everyone involved with Philippine FC. It would be a chance to demonstrate our ability against the best teams in the league and would also result in the greater development of the players," he added.

"I'm lucky to have 19 talented players in my squad that can play in more than one position. They are all willing to contribute to the team's success, but my biggest problem is that I can only field 14 of them on match day," he said.

Although unlikely, PFC and Aldenham could both still be pipped to the final promotion spot by the 4th-placed Hemel Hempstead Rovers Reserves. They are currently on 33 points and will face Division One champions Park Street Village in their final game on Wednesday.

Park Street Village hold a 100% record this season and are expected to beat Hemel Hempstead Rovers.

However, if the unexpected were to happen, followed by a draw in this weekend's game between PFC and Aldenham, Hemel Hempstead will be promoted because of superior goal difference.

If Park Street Village beat Hemel Hempstead this Wednesday, PFC will only need a draw in their game. Despite that, Townsend insisted that they are going for the win and all 3 points.

PFC left back Cliff Gay-ya is optimistic and echoed the sentiment of the squad.

"We are capable of this and I believe we will do it. It's good for us individually, but more importantly as a team mentally. It will instil confidence and help us to become collectively stronger," Gay-ya said.

"We can evaluate where we are when the season is over, but we have to remain positive and concentrate on securing promotion. I am confident we can do that," he added.

If PFC will triumph in their final game against Aldenham, they will enjoy 2 successive years of promotion in the West Hertfordshire League. The team won promotion from Division Two last season in their maiden year playing together.

Despite the prospect of moving up another division, club representative Jesse Arroyo kept things in perspective.

"If we do not get promoted, it allows the team to build a stronger bond and improve our playing style in a division that we already know," Arroyo said.

"PFC's players have already made a name for themselves in the divisions we have competed in, but the hard work comes with maintaining the winning mentality because once teams know your playing style, it is easier for them to plan tactics."

Visit the Division One West Hertfordshire League standings.

by Edward Lao, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau


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