FIFA: PH Coach expresses regret to fans after World Cup Qualifier loss vs. Iraq

FEU Advocate
March 28, 2024 07:23

By Andrei M. Barrantes and Angel Joyce C. Basa

Philippine Men's National Football Team (PMNFT) Head Coach Tom Saintfiet apologized to Filipino fans after a tough loss against Iraq, 0-5, in the 2026 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Qualifiers last March 26 at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City.

“I'm very disappointed but I'm also very sorry. I would like to start to say my apologies to the ten thousands of fans who were in the stadium and those who were watching at home, my apologies for the big defeat and also my thanks for the big support from the fans side, the fans who were behind us the whole ninety minutes and I really would like to thank them and once more, sorry for the very disappointing result,” he stated during the post-match conference.

The national team were unable to maneuver a single goal despite a home court advantage after Iraq’s multiple attempts and a successful goal early in the first half, courtesy of Aymen Hussein in the 14th minute.

Iraq powered through with two additional goals by Amir Fouad in the 30-minute mark and Hussein’s second point in the 36th minute to end the first leg of the match at 0-3.

Execution struggles yet again plagued the newly-rebranded Filipino booters after halftime, with most of their passes getting intercepted and a failed go-ahead strike from FEU alum Pocholo Bugas. 

After 17 minutes of back-and-forth, Iraq’s Zidane Iqbal connected on yet another goal to drive the lead to 4-0, followed soon after by Zaid Hantoosh at the 77th minute. 

This loss marks the Philippines’ fourth in this qualifier and Coach Saintfiet’s second as the lead tactician. They face Vietnam and Indonesia in the final window of the round in June.

(Photo by Karch Rafael/FEU Advocate)