By Cedelf P. Tupas
KUWAIT CITY—Central defender Rob Gier has taken a bigger role for the Philippine Azkals.
Beyond his job to provide a calming influence and leadership in the Azkals’ backline, Gier has been officially appointed by Dan Palami as chief European scout for the team.
The 30-year-old Gier, who played in England’s second-tier league early in his career, joined the team here Wednesday, three days before their second round World Cup Qualifying clash with Kuwait.
Gier was unable to join the Azkals in their camp in Bahrain, where they lost two matches to the Bahrain Under-23 Olympic squad, but the Filipino-British standout certainly did his homework for the important match here.
In fact, Gier brought with him his own scouting report on Kuwait and readily offered it to his teammates during the meeting Wednesday at the Movenpick Hotel in Al Bida.
“He has the experience and knowledge for a bigger role in the team,” said team manager Dan Palami of Gier, who has 20 appearances for the national squad.
With fellow Aly Borromeo still awaiting the final clearance from the International Football Federation (Fifa) on his suspension, Gier’s performance on the backline will be vital for the Azkals if they are to stop the formidable Kuwaitis.
Gier, Borromeo, Anton del Rosario and Ray Jonsson, who is expected to fly in today, are the regular members of the Azkals’ back four.
The four players, along with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who is expected to arrive in this oil-rich country by the Persian Gulf, were impressive in the run to the Suzuki Cup semifinals last year where the Azkals gave up just three goals in five matches.