By the time this column comes out, the management of the Philippine Azkals would have made an announcement as to who are invited to the training pool from which players will be chosen to represent the country in the Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 next month.
A quick chat with Dan Palami, the Azkals team manager, gave The Designated Kit Man at least an update on those who were invited to come to the camp.
Palami, however, made it clear that nothing is final yet on the actual number of players and who will be available for the camp.
“The list is still incomplete and we are still finalizing the availability of foreign-based Azkals. Some changes might still be made before or even during the camp,” Palami said.
For now, here is the list of players who were invited to join the training poo: Anthony Pintus, Julian Schwarzer, Enrico Mangaoang, Jaime Rosquillo, Audie Menzi, Kouichi Belgira, Bryan Ybañez, Yrick Gallantes, Simen Lyngbo, Pete Andrei Forrosuelo, Stephan Schrock, Kenshiro Daniels, Jeremiah Borlongan, Dennis Chung, Pocholo Bugas, Hikaru Minegishi, Jesus Joaquin Melliza, Eric Giganto, Arnel Amita, Oskari Kekkonen, Javier Gayoso, Marcel Ivan Ouano, Griffin McDaniel, Marco Casambre, Mark Hartmann, Sandro Reyes, Kevin Ray Hansen, Jesse Curran, Jesper Nyholm, Jens Sebastian Rasmussen, Jefferson Tabinas, Michael Robert Baldisimo, Amani Aguinaldo, Oliver Bias, Dylan de Bruycker and Christian Rontini.
Also getting invited to the camp are U-22 players Kamil Jaser Amirul, Chester Gio Pabualan, Haren De Gracia, Harry James Nuñez, Justin Frias, Jacob Francis Maniti, Cyrelle James Saut, Dov Anthony Cariño and Andres Aleguer.
Palami added the Philippine Football Federation is expected to issue formal call ups to several players soon.
Speaking of Schrock, the Azkals Development Team playing coach and captain has decided to postpone the opening of the Azkals Development Academy (ADA) to fully concentrate on his call up to the national training pool for the forthcoming Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022.
The ADA is supposed to open next week and has generated a warm response since Schrock made the announcement of its establishment the past few days.
“The schedule is tight,” Schroecky explained.
Nevertheless, the Pinoy football icon is so stoked to be among those called and publicly acknowledged by Palami during an episode of 3PTS–Pambansang Tambayan ng Sports over DZME 1530 khz last Sunday.
“You don’t know how much a call-up means to me,” Schrock said.
While he is happy that he has a chance to play once more for the Azkals, Schrock is also aware of criticisms on the name of his football academy, especially coming from fans themselves who expressed resentment over the use of the Azkals’ brand.
“Basically, it’s connecting the Azkals Development Team with an academy because it could be good. I don’t know yet but I’d like to be prepared and if ever we turn it into a club so that players don’t have to choose between the scholarships and turning pro because at the moment that’s still the case, you know, with the ADT team as a team, we are in a kind of a gray zone because if ever we win something as a guest team, we will never compete internationally. Part of the club licensing is having an academy but other than that, I’d like to share knowledge on my philosophy of football as early as possible to some players so that they won’t need that much adjustments. I think it’s a good move to set up the academy under ADT,” he explained.
Regarding the name of the academy, he has this to say.
“If ever we can transform the ADT to a club, it would not make much sense if we named the academy differently than the club name. You know Kaya FC has an academy and it’s called Kaya and Maharlika FC has one too and it’s called Maharlika. You don’t make much sense to change it into another name,” Schrock added.
Schrock was also quick to say that being accepted to the ADA doesn’t mean that someone is assured of a spot in the ADT or to the Philippine Azkals.
“If people think that just because you joined my academy, you are automatically a member of the national team [then that is incorrect]. The Philippine Football Federation will be the one which will decide that. People should not be confused about this because the ADA and the federation are two different entities,” Schrock added.
Schrock also maintained that Palami, the Azkals Team Manager, knows about the academy and is supportive of his move to set it up.
“Otherwise I would not have used it. (The) Azkals will always be under Boss Dan and of course I asked him about it,” he said.
But for the meantime, Schroecky would focus his mind on the upcoming national training camp set to start this coming Monday, November 21, 2022 at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
On the lighter side of things, there are a bunch of young soccer players who are quite busy preparing for an international tournament set to unfold in Bangkok, Thailand next month.
These 9-year-olds or younger padawans, representing the Aspire Football Academy, will compete in the Winter Edition of the Bangkok International Super Cup 2022. The tournament is a seven-a-side competition featuring several age brackets that will be played at the Thai FA’s National Training Centre at Nong Chok in Bangkok. A game will be played for 22 minutes with at least 12 players composing each team that has been invited to join the tournament.
One of the players in the Aspire team is Jacob Marcus Puno Navarro, a Grade 4 varsity player for the Ateneo De Manila Grade School. For full disclosure, Jacob is my nephew, a fact that has nothing to do with his ability and great potential to become a future member of the Philippine Azkals someday.
While most kids his age are into basketball, being the undisputed number 1 sport in the country, Jacob would rather lace up his boots and kick the ball under the bright sun whenever possible.
“I like football because you need energetic players so that you can run up and down the field. You need to be energetic and in basketball sometimes you just stay still. In football it requires me to use my legs because you usually shoot, dribble, pass and run. And I like to run,” the Aspire defender explained.
But more than anything else, football has taught him so many valuable life lessons at his age. “Football has taught me to be fair, kind, hardworking, team player and patient,” he added.
Jacob says he is very excited to compete in Bangkok and is forever grateful to his parents – Marc and Ruth – and Ate Julia, for their unconditional love and support to his passion for football. “This is my first time competing internationally and I’m very thankful for them. They pay so that I can play,” he said.
Jacob, who plays as a defender in the Aspire squad and right wing for his school, says he wants to play internationally when he grows up and topping the list of his goals is playing for the sun and the three stars. “Yes, I want to play for the Azkals,” he said.
Hearing Jacob saying these things brings some sort of happiness on my end. Now the clan has a solid and possible contribution to the men’s national football team someday. And I hope that the Philippines will reach the FIFA Men’s World Cup in this lifetime and pray that one of the great Azkals that will accomplish that historic feat will be Jacob.
For more about Jacob, please tune in to 3PTS–Pambansang Tambayan ng Sports this coming Sunday, November 20, from 2 to 3 p.m. at DZME 1530. The Designated Kit Man and partner Rommel Miranda will get to know more about the Aspire Football Academy and their chances in the Bangkok International Super Cup 2022 from player Jose Cristiano Bernal, Coach Anto Gonzales, Coach Vince Aguilar and Coach Steven Rivera. Fitness and conditioning coach Rommel Lantin will also join the radio program.
Stay safe. Stay happy peeps!
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