Team Azkals: Up Close Part 2
Team Azkals: Up Close Part 2
As promised, here are the other members of the Philippine National Football Team and mini bio on each of them.
The Philippine Army/Air Force Crew
We are grateful to have in the team not only brilliant booters but also active and listed members of the army and air force. In the last issue, we already introduced 3 of them, Ian Araneta (Air Force), Roel Gener (Army) and Nestorio Margarse (Army). Here are the rest of these unsung heroes.
Eduardo Sacapano – Born on February 14, 1980, the 30 year old goalkeeper for the National Team was awarded the “Best Goalkeeper Award” in the 2009-2010 LBC-UFL Season. His international debut was in 2006 and represented Azkals six times. He is a member of the Philippine Army FC and a native of Bago City, Negros Occidental which is about 21 kilometers south of provincial capital Bacolod City. He attended college at West Negros University and graduated at Ramon Torres National High School in 1997.
Joebel Bermejo – An enlisted officer in the Philippine Air Force who is born February 28, 1981 who plays as a defender for the National Team and for Air Force Rider FC. He took his college degree at John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation, a private maritime college in Bacolod City in 2000. He represented the National Team in 9 international matches including the recent AFF Suzuki Cup.
Rey Palmes – Another member of the Philippine Air Force plays as a defender for both the National Team and Air Force Rider FC. The 31 year old is born on December 27, 1979 and currently has 1 cap for international matches.
Emelio Caligdong – Born as Emelio Asada Caligdong on September 2, 1982, this Iloilo footballer plays as a forward for the national team and Air Force Rider FC. Fondly called as the “chieffy”, the winger was able to make his international debut in 2004 Tiger Cup qualifiers where he scored 3 goals against Timor—Leste. He also played for the Philippines U-23 at the 2006 SEA Games and in a pre-SEA Games friendly’s where he scored against Myanmar and Timor-Leste. He is the cousin of Ian Araneta who also plays for Azkals.
Yanti Barsales – The oldest member of the Philippine National Football Team born on February 6, 1973 plays as a forward-striker for Air Force Rider FC. He was the top scorer and MVP of the United Football League’s inaugural season with 8 goals. His nephew, Ian Araneta also plays for the team.
Peter Jaugan – A native of Mindanao, this North Cotabato born booter plays in midfield for both Azkals and the Air Force. He was born July 2, 1983 and finished college at the University of Mindanao in 2004 with a degree in Commerce Major in Management. He became part of the National Team in 2002 is the only Mindanao born member of the squad.
Mark Ferrer – The 21 year old born on February 14, 1989 plays in the midfield for both the Philippine National Team and Air Force Rider FC. A native of Barotac Nuevo, Mark is a football star during high school and eventually joined Air Force to pursue his education.
There are a total of 3 enlisted members of the Philippine Army and 7 from the Philippine Air Force. Now, let’s meet some more Azkaleros who are also members of other clubs playing in the United Football League shall we.
Jerry Barbaso – Is a Filipino footballer born on April 18, 1988 and is playing for the National Team and Laos FC (Philippines) as a defender. Jerry is a B.S. Administration graduate of DMC College Foundation in Dipolog City.
Kristopher Relucio – Born on April 22, 1978 who plays as a defender for the Philippine National Men’s Football Team and Laos FC (Philippines). He has 2 international appearances for the Azkals. In the recent Long Teng Cup, he subs in for Mark at 58-minute mark against Macau in which we won by 5-nill.
David Basa – Born on April 2, 1989 and a proud member of the UST Golden Booters and the national team who plays forward. We all remember him during the UAAP Season 69 where he was awarded Rookie of the Year.
We are not done yet. We still some great talents from half Filipino booters.
Christopher Greatwich – Born as Christopher Robert Barbon Greatwich on September 30, 1983 in Westminister, England who plays in the midfield for the national team. He also played for Brighton and Hove Albion and was part of their successful FA Cup side in 2002. He currently plays for Morris County Colonials of the NPSL in the United States. He began his international career with the Azkals in 2004 making his debut for the Tiger Cup qualifiers against Myanmar. He scored the equalizer during the AFF Suzuki Cup Group Stages against Singapore on the 90 minute mark and another goal when the Azkals crushed Vietnam in a 2-nill win.
Robert Gier – This English-Filipino footballer born as Robert James Dazo Gier on January 6, 1980 plays as a defender for Azkals and is currently with Ascot United. He began his career at Wimbledon, who had been relegated from the Premier League in 1999-00. After, he joined several clubs in England such as Rushden and Diamonds, Cambridge United, Woking, Aldershot Town, and Grays Athletic. He was called to join the Philippine Team in March 2009 for the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers and made his first Philippine debut against Bhutan on April 2009.
Ray Jonsson – Ray Anthony Jonsson, born on February 2, 1979 is an Icelandic-Filipino of descent. He plays as a defender in both the national team and for the Icelandic Premier League club Grindavik. He was called up to play for the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in September 2010 and made his first international debut as part of the Azkals in the Long Teng Cup against Macau.
Jason De Jong – Born on February 28, 1990, Jason Nicolas Maria Dantes De Jong is a Filipino-Dutch footballer who plays as a midfielder for both the Philippine National Football Team and a professionally for a Dutch club Veendam. De Jong made his international debut for the Azkals in September 2008 in the qualifying rounds of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Cambodia. There were also rumors after the semis in Indonesia that agents are scouting to sign him (together with other Filipino players) to play for an Indonesia Club.
The Manager and the Coach
Dan Palami – The most positive credit to the previous leadership of PFF was this Tacloban-born businessman with his appointment as the Philippine National Men’s Football Team manager sometime in December 2009. He also managed the RP U-19. The 40 year old who has been the chief benefactor of the National Team is the CEO of Autre Porte Global Inc., an engineering company concerned with the construction, operation and maintenance of railway systems. He was also the former President of the Leyte Football Association and has been playing football since grade school. In an interview with Sports Digest about his plans, he said, “one is to make sure that the local players are given the chance to improve so they can be ready for international competitions. And the other is to look for players outside Manila who are already capable of bringing depth to the team”. He also added after the outstanding run of the team in the AFF Suzuki Cup, “I do believe that we have a lot of football fans in the Philippines. It’s just that there was nothing to celebrate about before. Now that we have something to celebrate about, then everybody’s united. “
Simon McMenemy – Simon Alexander McMenemy, born on December 6, 1977 in Hayward Heath, England (lies 36 miles south of London) is an English Football Manager and the head coach of the Philippine National Football Team. He was previously the assistant coach of Worthing FC, a non-league English club. It was through Chris Greatwich that McMenemy heard about the vacant coaching job in the Philippines. He then received a letter from PFF after 5 weeks and signed an initial 2 months contract with the national team on August 2010. In a Sports Digest interview about the future of Philippine Football, McMenemy said, “I think passion and spirit can carry you so far, but there are certain limitations that make success in this country very difficult. There is no professional league, which, for one, gets you to ask the question ‘where do your players play regularly? Young players coming through makes it difficult if there is no kind of pathway where they can show their talent. There’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be developed before we can take that step o. Once we have that, I think we can be up there competing every week against Vietnam, Singapore, and possibly even Japan. We need to have the infrastructure there. We have a very goof group of players, but that will only take us so far.