The Philippine Azkalsí future is being built on youth
Santino Honasan on Sep 04, 2015 04:40 PM
YOUNG AND RESTLESS. Daisuke Sato, Amani Aguinaldo, and Luke Woodland, all 20 years young, are primed to be the future faces of Pinoy football
Aside from world class talent, another weapon that the Philippine Azkals have on this side, thanks to this current roster, is an abundance of youth.
In the team’s current 26-man roster, there are only three players on the other side of 30 years, namely Juani Guirado (36), Maldives hitman Jerry Lucena (34), and Paul Mulders (34).
Nine members of the team are within the 26 to 29 year age range, and the rest belong to the 25 and below category. Heck, five guys on the team just got out of their teens.
The average retiring age of a professional football player, barring any major injury, is 35 years old, meaning that a lot of these guys on the team have more or less ten years left.
Simply put, some of the names on the Azkals’ current roster are primed to be the futures of Filipino football, and make no mistake about it, Filipino football is on the rise.
For team captain Phil Younghusband, who, at just 28 years of age, is already considered as one of the elder statesmen of the team, being called up to the senior team and getting to train with the country’s best players are important experiences for a young footballer’s development.
“We’ve got some players who are young, and who’ll gain from just being away with the team, having experience.”
Younghusband also added that injecting youth to the lineup is a way of preparing for the future.
“Coach is thinking about the future, thinking about the development of players as well as getting the right result in the games coming up, so I think it’s important that you get to bring in young players and have them get the experience. “
The Filipino-British striker began his national team duties at a young age as well, and has now grown into the team’s leader and leading scorer.
“I started when I was 17-18 with the national team, and having that international experience, it’s priceless for the future. It’s good to have the youngsters in.”
Coach Thomas Dooley has said that he sees Younghusband as the one to lead the Azkals for the coming years, and now they're surrounding their new captain with some young pieces to make sure that the Philippines stays as a force to reckon with in the future.