Philippines Football League

Pinoy Total Football: Why Not?

Your #EatSleepBreatheFootball gang is at it again. And with the inevitable 2020 Philippines Football League opening powered by Qatar Airways, the gang brings you another buildup to the ultimate clash of local football titans.

This week, the gang put on the spotlight Maharlika FC. And representing their badge are Bency Villanueva, Coach Kit Salanguit, and on his ESBF hot seat return, Head Coach Roxy Dorlas.

It was a very fun talk with the guests and the gang, but after speaking with Coach Roxy, it made me wonder. Did he just give us a hint of his team’s playing style?

Asking the question about how he envisions Maharlika’s playing style, Coach Rox showed us that he knows what he wants with his players: to play disciplined, organized, dynamic football.

He put a bit of emphasis on being dynamic. That word is very common for plenty of teams and tactics, but with Coach Rox, the first thing that came to my mind was Total Football.

What is Total Football?

Total Football is a tactic that relies on players being able to take over any position within the team. This means that should one player go outside of his position, the remaining players change roles and covers for him.

This is a very demanding style of football requiring players to be comfortable and capable of playing other positions than what they are commonly playing as. This also demands the very best of fitness as it would take its toll on their stamina just as well.

This tactic has been heavily utilized and has become a signature for Dutch football in the 1970s. And owing his football upbringing from the Dutch football system, it comes as no surprise that this could be Coach Rox’s main tactic.

Coach Rox did say that “It depends also on who we’re going to play against.” And we can’t blame him. We’re taking on the best and the brightest of our local league.

Just like what the head coach said, “Different approach, different opponent.” is a must if they want to compete against the big guns of Philippine Football.

Speaking to someone with access to Loyola’s Youth games, it was revealed to me that Dorlas is already employing a similar tactic with the youth teams. You could see him use young players from the back in an offensive approach.

While there are still some coaches that rely on long balls, counter-attacks, and lucky breaks, it really gives me joy knowing that some of our footballing youth is being exposed to a different style of football. One that highlights a strong team behind the ball.

Maharlika FC is aiming for an AFC spot. This means that they’re not here to participate, they’re here to win.

And looking at their current lineup, they’re not kidding. With versatile players like Simon Greatwich and iron-lunged players like Jerry Barbaso, plus a few new youngbloods, we might be seeing Total Football in a Philippine club yet. And taking this football against Asia isn’t impossible.

While none of this is for sure, and all of this is just mere speculation, there’s one thing I can guarantee: we’re gonna be in for a fantastic 2020 season.

We’re all looking forward to seeing what new and nifty surprises our own teams have for us. What Aces would they have against their rivals? And who’s football truly reigns supreme? That’s all for us to find out.

See you on the touchline.

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