Team Azkals Up Close: Part 1
They are no La Roja nor Oranje but like both European teams, they do enjoy some glorious moments, they are our own Philippine National Football Team, the Azkals. They are the oldest football club in Asia but only made some unprecedented success in the early 20th century and recently with their outstanding campaign for the AFF Suzuki Cup. Let us know more about the members of the team including the Team Manager Dan Palami and Coach Simon McMenemy.
Aly Borromeo – born Alexander Charles Luis Borromeo on June 28, 1983 in San Francisco, Californiia. The 27 year old captain plays for Kaya FC and is one of the oldest members of the team by tenure. He previously played as GK but eventually became a utility player playing midfield and forward. He first represented the Philippines at U19 Level during the 2000 AFC Youth Championship qualifiers and eventually became a strong member of the Azkals. The teams’ skipper is a versatile central back who is often deployed as a defensive midfielder and striker. He also scored important goals during the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup with his equalizer against Cambodia and East Timor.
Neil Etheridge – On February 7, 1990, a Filipino-British Neil Leonard Dula Etheridge was born in Enfield London, England. The primary goalkeeper of the Azkals is a professional player who plays as a GK for Fulham FC for the English Premier League. He began attending Chealsea Academy with the Younghusbands and eventually joined Fulham as a goalkeeper. In 2007, he received an invitation to play for the Philippines but declined the offer and in 2008 was again invited by former PFF President Mari Martinez. He eventually accepted the offer after a long talk. He made his full international debut in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers playing in all three matches. He then was called up again to play for the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers but like the AFC Challenge Cup, the team was not able to qualify.
James Younghusband – born James Joseph Placer Younghusband on September 4, 1986, this English-Filipino footballer began his career when he signed up for Chelsea Academy at the age of 10. While with Chelsea, he made a number of appearances for the youth and reserve team. In 2005, he (with his younger brother Phil) was invited to play for the Philippines in the 2005 SEA Games. He once said, “I want to accomplish in the Philippines what David Beckham plans to do in America – make football bigger.”
Phil Younghusband – On August 4, 1987, a Filipino-British Philip James Placer Younghusband plays as forward for Azkals. He also started with Chelsea together with his older brother James and co-player Neil at the age of 9. He also represented Chelsea and made a number of appearances for the youth and reserved team. And in 2007, he signed a contract with a Danish Club, Esbjerg fB going on loan transfer for the 2007-08 season but returned to Chelsea during the January transfer window. In the summer of 2008, his Chelsea contract ended and eventually moved to the Philippines. Like James, he was invited to play for the Philippines during the 2005 SEA Games and eventually became an important member of the national team.
Ian Araneta – Born as Ian Bayona Araneta on March 2, 1982, this Pinoy true blood footballer from Iloilo plays as a forward for the Philippine National Football Team and a member of the Philippine Air Force FC. He made his international debut on December 2002 in a friendly match against Singapore and scored his first international goal in the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers against Laos. A very strong striker and a constant threat up front with his tenacity and eye for goal. Ian scored his first international hat-trick* during the 2010 Long Teng Cup with a 5-0 win against Macau.
Anton DelRosario – Born on December 23, 1981 as Anton Edward Quimson del Rosario is an American born Filipino footballer. He was born in San Francisco (like Aly) but with Filipino parents. He plays as a right back or center back for the National Team and Kaya FC. He started playing at the age of six and eventually joined some clubs in the US until his college years where he played for Skyline College and Notre Dame de Namur University. While living the Philippines as a teenager, he tried out for the National Team and became an integral member of the Azkals through the years. He first represented the country in the 2004 Tiger Cup (now AFF Suzuki Cup) against Myanmar and made his first international goal against Brunei via a free-kick* during the 2007 ASEAN Football Championships qualifiers.
Roel Gener – Roel Jimena Gener, born on June 27, 1974, is the second oldest player of the team. The Iloilo born footballer is also a member of the Philippine Army FC and is an enlisted army. He plays midfield and already represented the country in 17 international matches, recently in the AFF Suzuki Cup. His agility makes him as a key person in the midfield. He attended school in Barotac Nuevo during high school and Western Visayas College of Science and Technology in college.
Christopher Camcam – The youngest member of the squad born on September 30, 1994 is playing as GK for the team. The 16 years old Christopher Joaquin Camcam, fondly called “Topher” also plays for Southridge FC. With his young age and exposure to international pitch, he can surely be one of the few homegrown talents that we can develop for the future.
These are just 9 out of the 23 members of Azkals. Next up, Part 2. Enjoy!
*Hat-trick: is a term used when a player scored 3 goals in a single game excluding when it’s a goal from a penalty shoot-out. There are several variations of the definition:
– a perfect hat-trick is when a player scores a goal with the right foot, then with left and with a header.
– a flawless hat-trick is when a player scores all 3 goals consecutively within one period of play.
– a classic hat-trick is when a player scores all 3 goals consecutively in a single half of a game.
*Penalty shoot-out: usually occurs to break ties usually during a championship match wherein a winner must be determined. After a 90 minute and 2 extra time, when two teams are still tied, each team will alternate 5 penalty kicks (without a wall). The team who scores more goals is the winner.