The Philippine National Football team shared their expertise with selected kids in a football clinic yesterday at the Aboitiz Field.
The Azkals trained the members of the Under-13 national team who dubbed themselves the Little Azkals. The young players are set to leave for Malaysia this Monday to face nine countries in the Asean Football Confederation Festival of Football.
“It’s an inspiration for the kids who are looking forward to be one with the Azkals someday,” said Richard Montayre of the Cebu Football Association.
Five Cebuanos made it to the lineup of the Little Azkals, who will be sent on the first international Under-13 competition of the AFC. The country was able to send a national team for the Under-14 tournament last year.
“This is a stronger team this year,” said Montayre.
Coach Elying Toledo revealed that the kids were excited to meet their idols but he constantly reminds his players to stay focused as they are down to the final days of training. “Masaya kasi dito rin kami nagsimula. Magandang way ito para mapromote yung football grassroots,” said striker Ian Araneta.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who is visiting Cebu for second time, said he hopes for more kids to be involved in football clinics.
“Helping children learn football is a great experience for me,” Etheridge said.
Meanwhile, Azkal forward William Espinosa dislocated his elbow in a non-football related accident when he fell off-balance from a jetski while frolicking with the team.
He was brought directly to Mactan Doctors’ Hospital but no fracture was reflected in the X-ray results. Espinosa is in half cast right now.
“He will be ready in one to two weeks. There is no problem on fitness,” said conditioning coach Josef Malinay.
On the other hand, Anton Del Rosario caught a viral infection that was very similar with what derailed Chad Gould.
He was hospitalized but is expected to recover in the next few days.
“I feel fine. I had instructions not to sweat too much. Just give me a few days and I’ll get right back into it,” Del Rosario said. (CDG)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 29, 2011.