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Malditas coach Ernie Nierras hits back at complaints regarding tickets for foreign-based players

(Updated 8:56pm) Right after the doomed Malditas bid at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games, Monika Lee, a member of the squad, took to Twitter to vent about her flight back to the United States, where she is based. The Twitter exchange below is with fellow Malditas Chalise Baysa and Joana Houplin as well as Lee’s mother, Nemone Lee.

National teams committee chairman Dan Palami, at a press conference last Sunday at the Mall of Asia, confirmed reports of complaints against Malditas coach Ernie Nierras. Palami even recounted a story about how the parents of a Malditas member, whom he did not name, personally going to his home to complain about flight situations.

When asked to comment about the issue, Nierras explained the situation from his side, saying, “The parent of the player bought a new ticket for the afternoon flight and we reimbursed them for the cost of the ticket. The reservation was canceled and the travel agency are [sic] talking to the airlines about it.”

When asked about the alleged use of a stolen credit card to purchase tickets, the Malditas coach said, “I am not the travel agent. Why the player said I used a stolen card is for her to answer.

“Do I look like a person who will use a stolen card? Why will we do that when everybody knows we fund the WNT [Women’s National Team] beyond what the PFF [Philippine Football Federation] gives the WNT financially?” Nierras and team manager Filbert Alquiros help fund the Malditas out of their own pocket and by looking for sponsors and backers. Mel Macasaquit, head of Melmac Sports Management is the Malditas’ Sports Marketing Head and helps Coach Nierras in this endeavor.

PFF President Nonong Araneta and the PFF confirmed that Macasaquit is officially appointed as Manager of the Futsal Teams. However, the PFF itself has not been furnished a copy of Macasaquit’s appointment as Malditas Sports Marketing Head.

“Honestly, I do not want to respond to it because my critics are just trying to make this into a big thing even saying it's corruption. Why the hell will I steal my own money? Does that make sense?” the embattled coach asked.

The PFF, however, is taking a different view. ”If there is a complaint, we have to investigate," Atty. Ed Gastanes, PFF General Secretary said. “The Women’s Committee will have a meeting this week, like all the rest of the committees, they have one at the start of the year, this will definitely be on the agenda.”

When asked about a meeting with the PFF, Coach Nierras clarified that he had already spoken about the matter with the Women’s Committee, of which he is part.

[Related: Azkals begin youth training at MOA, as concerns regarding new coach, Malditas, arise]

In an interview earlier this week, Atty. Gastanes said that a verbal complaint had indeed reached Palami, but that they are awaiting a written complaint.

As of press time, GMA News Online has received word that the PFF has received written complaints and that the meeting of the PFF Women’s Committee pushed through. - AMD, GMA News