Philippine national men’s football coach Hans Michael Weiss is thrilled to have Filipino-Spanish recruit Javier Patiño as the newest member of the Azkals.
Patiño, despite his commitments with his club Cordoba CF in the Spanish second division league, made an effort to come to the country to arrange his Philippine passport, which will make him eligible to play for the Azkals.
“I find that more than exciting because a player, during the season, makes that long trip to the Philippines and is getting ready to obtain his passport is a very good sign for us,” Weiss said.
Patiño, who arrived Monday night, will not be able to join the Azkals practices this week as he has to fly back immediately to Spain to return to his club.
Weiss has high hopes for the highly-touted Patiño, a striker who could ease the offensive burden off scorers Phil Younghusband and Angel Guirado.
“That gives us strong options of physically top players who can fit in anytime for our team,” Weiss said. “If we need them, and I think we need them, (it will take the team) to the next higher level.”
Born to a Filipino mother, Patiño has scored 11 goals in 62 appearances with Cordoba since joining the club in 2011.
The Azkals are currently preparing for the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup qualifiers in Manila this March, where they aim to top their group which features Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Turkmenistan to advance to the tournament proper next year in Maldives.