Philippines encounter training problem in Indonesia ahead of World Cup qualifier

By Hoang An   June 9, 2024 | 09:04 pm PT
Philippines encounter training problem in Indonesia ahead of World Cup qualifier
Philippines players celebrate a goal against Vietnam in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on June 6, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
The Philippines national football team faced an unexpected challenge during their training session in Indonesia, ahead of their World Cup qualifier against the host nation.

The lights at the Soemantri Brodjonegoro training ground abruptly went off, forcing the team to practice in the dark.

According to Indonesian sports site Bola, the lights went out at 6:03 p.m. on Saturday evening while coach Tom Saintfiet was speaking with the press. Street and apartment building lights adjacent to the training venue remained on.

Despite the blackout, Philippines players continued their practice, passing the ball to each other in the dark. Approximately five minutes later, the lights at the training ground were restored. Coach Saintfiet, still being interviewed at the time, appeared unbothered by the incident.

Vietnam experienced similar issues when they visited Indonesia for a match in March this year. Indonesian fans tried to disrupt the team's sleep by lighting flares near their hotel around 3 a.m. Such disruptions are also common in European football tournaments, including the Champions League.

The Philippines will face Indonesia in the final fixture of Group F in the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on June 11. Coach Saintfiet and his players have already been eliminated, having earned only one point in five matches. Their primary goal for this match is to perform well.

For Indonesia, this match is crucial. They must defeat the Philippines to advance to the third qualifying round for the first time. Failure to win will result in their elimination if Vietnam beat Iraq in the other Group F match.

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