The Philippines-Malaysia friendly match ended in a scoreless draw last Friday. Despite the presence of a lot of foreign-based players in the Philippine line-up, the Philippine team merely managed a scoreless draw with a lower FIFA-ranked team.
The bigger disappointment for me, however, comes from Philippine Azkals team captain Chieffy Caligdong. The Azkals skipper was quoted as saying that he sees nothing wrong with the insignificant presence of homegrown players in the Azkals line-up. Caligdong even goes to the extent of justifying the domination of foreign-based players by saying that these players ” are bringing up the level of play and we’re learning from them. ” I find it really a big disappointment that no less than the team captain of a national team prefers to have Fil-foreigners in the team than pure Filipinos. If talent is really the main reason for the choice of Fil-foreigners over pure Filipinos, then the coach of the team must be held accountable. The coach must be blamed for not honing the talent and skills of pure Filipinos. The coach must be inherently conscious of improving the skills of the local players. It is his duty to improve the playing skills of pure Filipinos and not merely rely on his imports. The coach must have a definite and concrete development plan to improve the homegrown players.
Interestingly, were there foreign-based players in the Malaysian Tigers ? A Malaysian friend tells me that Safee is the only one who plays outside Malaysia. Full-blooded Malaysian Safee plays in Indonesia. If Malaysia is the defending champion in the Suzuki Cup by not having a proliferation of foreign-based players, why can’t the Philippine Azkals do the same ?