Fil-Aussie winger Iain Ramsay out to prove Azkals debut is well worth the wait
By Karlo SAcamos
IT took him five years to say yes to the Philippines.
Now, Iain Ramsay will try to prove to his mother’s homeland it was worth the wait.
On the Azkals' radar since 2011, the touted Filipino-Australian winger has finally agreed to wear the tri-color when the country embarks on another improbable journey to the Fifa World Cup.
“I definitely feel now is the right time for me,” said the 27-year-old Ramsay, who had long waited for a call-up to the Australian national team. “I’m very happy to be here.
“I’m one-hundred percent committed. If not, I wouldn’t have come.”
Ramsay joins a team that is vying to enter the world’s biggest football showpiece beginning in the first round of qualifiers against Bahrain on June 11 at the Philippine Stadium.
“I hope I can make Filipinos proud,” said the A-League veteran, whose mom is from Pampanga.
Ramsay had his first training session on Tuesday night, a day after arriving from his father’s country.
“I had to get the fatigue out of my legs from the long trip,” he said, quite impressed with the quality of his teammates. “The level was pretty good. There are a lot of talented boys in this squad.”
“It’s all about getting to know each other and learn each other’s games, and how the coach wants us to play,” he added.
Judging from first impression alone, Azkals coach Thomas Dooley is already convinced of the 5-foot-11 Ramsay’s quality and what he can offer.
“Iain gives us some strength on the left side and on the right side too,” Dooley said. “He’s working hard, he’s quick, and he just needs a couple more days to adjust.”
Ramsay has all the time to focus on the national team after he was released by his club, Melbourne City, last month.
“I’m pretty open to try something new,” he said, referring to his pro career. “ You see a lot of boys moving to Asia and I definitely look at that as an option as well. I’m not sure as of the moment, but in these next few weeks I’ll know what I’m doing.”
“My focus and commitment at the moment is to do well for the Azkals,” he was quick to add. “I just want to help the team as much as I can and work hard for us to qualify (to the next round).”