Your national futsal team is once again trying its luck in international competition.
The Muzangs, as they have been dubbed, are participating in the MNC Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia. They departed today, August 29, and will return on September 4.
The Philippines will match up against Kyrgyzstan, China, and hosts Indonesia in the round-robin tournament.
The competition is a tune-up event for the ASEAN Football Federation Futsal championship in mid-September. Last year the Philippines played in that tournament, beating Brunei but falling to the rest of their opponents.
Only nine players will be brought to Jakarta, including many players from the UFL. Veteran futsal internationalist Michael Reyes from Team Socceroo will play, as will Pachanga’s Jayson Cutamora. Representing Manila Jeepney will be Jake Morallo. There is a contingent from Green Archers United Globe, who won a futsal tournament in Iloilo recently. Tating Pasilan, Jovan Simpron, and Pat Bocobo will make the trip.
Ibra Diab, a Filipino-Lebanese who grew up in Kuwait, is also listed, as is Filipino-Iranian goalie Daryoush Rey Zandi.
The head coach of the side is Red Avelino. He will be assisted by Gil Talavera, a Loyola assistant, and Nicholas Reyes. Avelino and Talavera both have futsal coaching licenses from the Asian Football Confederation, while Nicholas, the brother of Michael, plans to get his futsal coaching badge soon.
The team hopes to beef up the squad further for the AFF tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they are scheduled to face Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. Avelino says they are trying to include Meralco’s Boyet Canedo and Ceres midfielder Dodz Pasinabo for that squad.
Managing the team is Mel Macasaquit of MelMac Sports. For updates on the matches, follow him on Twitter @Melmac_sports.