International Watch: Mendoza Remains Positive On  Philippines’ Hopes

The Philippines struggled to impress in the recently concluded Tri-Nations Series in Singapore, losing both their matches against Malaysia and the hosts, on a 2-0 scoreline, but goalkeeper Mendoza who was on the bench in those matches remained positive despite the outcome which frustrated many of the Azkals followers.


The Voice of The City Boys caught up with the 27-year-old upon his return to Malaysia, and he reflected on the time spent in the city-state in the latest national team call-up.


“It is always an honour to join the national team. We have a great team and it’s always fun to see the boys again!”, he said.


There is no hint of regret and disappointment from the 27-year-old who was the Philippines’ No.1 as recent as during the Asean Football Federation’s Suzuki Cup in December, with the decision by the Azkals’ head coach Scott Cooper, to not play him.


Mendoza explained, “Of course, it is always my goal and hope to play. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any game time this time around. But Neil (Etheridge), who’s with Birmingham in the English championship, rejoined the team this time and he is a great keeper”.


The 1.88m rock for the City Boys in the Malaysia Cup success last year and nominee at AFF championships breakout star of the year award, was full of praise for his team despite the challenges they faced in Singapore.


“We didn’t have the best preparation for the games and unfortunately we also had quite a few covid cases on the team. But I am proud of the way we fought under the circumstances”.


He was also upbeat about the addition of a new coaching staff that he believes will help his game, 


“We also got a new goalkeeper coach (Bobby Mimms) who had a lot of games at the top level of English football (Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton). So it was good to compete and learn from a great and experienced keeper and coach”.


The Philippines participated in the Tri-Nations Series in preparation for the third round of the 2023 Asia Cup qualifying games coming up in June 2022, where they will be doing battle with Palestine, Yemen & Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.