By Cedelf P. Tupas
MANAMA, Bahrain—The onus is now on striker Javier Patino to declare if he’s still willing to play for the national team.
Philippines coach Thomas Dooley wants commitment from the Fil-Spanish striker, following his absence in the Azkals’ first training camp of the year here.
Dooley’s patience seems to be running thin as Patino again begged off from joining camp due to personal matters.
He also missed the AFC Challenge Cup and AFF Suzuki Cup last year due to club commitments in Thailand and injuries.
“Javier would have been perfect for us,” Dooley said. “But we don’t know if he still wants to play for us.”
Patino, who has two goals from three matches with the national team, just moved from Buriram United in Thailand to Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League. He scored twice in his debut for Henan.
Two letters to Henan
The Philippine Football Federation twice sent letters to Henan to push for Patino’s release and even asked the Chinese Football Association to intervene. Patino ruled himself out of the camp, however.
“I don’t know what happened to Javier. It looks like he doesn’t want to play for the Philippines,” said Dooley on the eve of the clash with Bahrain.
“If that’s the case, he has to make an announcement with the federation so we don’t call him up again. It’s not good for the team when we don’t know he’s coming or not.”
Dooley said he expects midfielder Fil-German midfielder Stephan Schrock to be back in the team before the World Cup Qualifiers start in June.
Prospects like Stephen Palla, Iain Ramsay and Luke Woodland are also expected to join the side before the start of the campaign.
Austrian international David Alaba, whose mother is from the Philippines, recommended Palla, a defender, to the Azkals, according to Azkals manager Dan Palami.
England youth player
Woodland, a former England youth player, was receptive to the idea of playing for the team following a meeting with Azkals skipper Rob Gier recently.
Ramsay, who plays for Melbourne City in the A-League, is in the process of renewing his Filipino passport.
“We’re optimistic that these players will suit up for the Azkals and represent the country well,” said Palami.
Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/177071/dooley-wants-patino-commitment#ixzz3VuQTR6de