By Mars Alison
Cebu Daily News
After almost 10 months of planning, the Little Azkals will finally leave for Italy for a training camp and a series of friendly tournaments. The team leaves for Manila today and for Italy tomorrow.
Of the original 22 members of the Little Azkals, one will be left—Kairyll Vienne Parao of Dumaguete who is recuperating from an injury.
The kids taking part in the Italy training camp are Cebu’s Moiselle Angelo Alforque, Lawrence Colina, Major Dean Ebarle, Vincent Erik Lovitos and Kintaro Miyagi; Manila’s John William Abraham, Marco Alessandro Casambre, Harrel Rainier Dayan, Josh Albert Miller and Ray Vincent Sanciangco; Cagayan de Oro’s Jeremiah Borlongan and Dimitri Lionel Limbo; Davao’s Darius Joseph Diamante and Javier Romero-Salas; Dumaguete’s Jhenry Omar Hamdan and Jose Anton Yared; Dipolog’s Sebastian Rafael Patangan and San Carlos City’s Mason Trent Vergara.
They are all original members of the Little Azkals who took part in last year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-13 Festival of Football in Malaysia.
From its conception last year, it has been agreed that this team will be the first batch to undergo the 10-year program of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) grassroots development program.
As they grow up, these kids will form the core of junior national teams until they form the future national team—the Philippine Azkals.
However, being part of the official lineup of the Little Azkals will not guarantee them an automatic entry into the succeeding junior teams. They will have to undergo tryouts in PFF talent identification tournaments to make sure that they are consistent in their growth as a football player and not slack in their training.
Joining the Little Azkals are new members Jed Deleriarte of Iloilo, Christian Floren Lapas of Dumaguete and Shanden Vergara of San Carlos City.
Little Azkals head coach Oliver “Bingbing” Colina said earlier that he would be observing the improvement of the players who made it to last year’s selection and see if they are worthy to become part of the team now.
The team will be joined by manager Richard Montayre and Colina’s staff—Eleazar Toledo, Elezier Fabroada, and Noel Marcaida.
Colina, who is currently in Germany will meet them in Italy after his club attachment training as part of the AFC Project Future Coaches for batch 2009.
Montayre said that funding for this trip is taken from a part of the P2 million allocated by PFF, the parents and sponsors.
For kids whose parents cannot afford the trip, other parents chipped in for them as well as their respective football association presidents who helped looked for sponsors.
The training camp, accommodation, food and local transportation is being sponsored by ASD Tomaso Natalie Scuola Calcio Giacomo Tedesco in Palermo Italy, through its director general Nicolo Ferrante.
Cebu Football Association board member Rachel Genco who is coaching a girls’ team in the school is the one working the sponsorships for the team’s friendly games.
The eight members who just got named to the Little Azkals training pool this year will go back to their respective places but are under strict orders to continue training as they still have a chance to become part of the official lineup for this year’s AFC U-14 Festival of Football in Malaysia this June.