RANGOON – The Azkals will be one man short in tomorrow's do-or-die match with Bangladesh.
Rob Gier, the steady defender, flew home to England this afternoon to be with his wife, Emma, who is experiencing a delicate pregnancy.
The 30-year-old Gier arrived in Myanmar only last Sunday to help out with the team, and it had been agreed upon that he would play only to matches.
He played a key role in the team’s first two games here, draws against Myanmar and Palestine, and would have wanted to stay if not for the urgency back home.
Some of his teammates tried to convince him to stay.
“But I can’t. It wasn’t an easy decision because I had to choose. Is it the team or my wife?” said Gier shortly before leaving the hotel for the airport today.
“I would have loved to stay. But my wife needs me,” he said.
The Giers are expecting their first child.
“It was great of him to come here when there are priorities back home. He came here to boost the guys,” said Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo.
“He’s one of the most experienced players in the team and it’s always good to have him out there. I tried to convince him to stay but it was understandable,” he added.
Before leaving, Gier hoped that after two successive draws they will be able to nail the victory that would send the Azkals to the next round.
He looked back at the first two matches as matches that could have gone either way.
“I think those two games, we could have won. But those were two matches we could have also lost. We had chances in both games,” he said.
Coach Michael Weiss, for his part, said he has yet to decide whom to tap to take Gier’s position.