‘Sayang talaga’

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ROMY P. MARIÑAS

ROMY P. MARIÑAS

Since local scouts are apparently still looking overseas, particularly Europe, for young football talents who are half-Filipino, they might as well do the searching in the top leagues such as the Bundesliga.

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They might get extremely lucky and find David Alaba, whose father is Nigerian and mother is Filipino.

Sorry, but the Austrian national football team got to the not yet 18 years old Alaba first, signing him up when he was just aged 17 years and 112 days to become the youngest player to represent the country.

Sayang talaga, because the youngster had been eligible to play for Nigeria, the Philippines and Germany.

Moving to Germany when he was just past 16, he made his Bayern Munich debut shortly and since then had the best of Bundesliga bosses practically drooling over him and what he has done for the beautiful game at such a young age.

“He’s [Alaba] just incredible, he’s just…wow,” Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola gushed.

Earlier, Guardiola foresaw the Filipino-Nigerian wunderkind as “a future all-time best in the club’s history.”

Awarded Austria footballer of the year six times since 2011, he thoroughly mesmerized former Bayern Munich manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, calling Alaba “as a gift from the heavens.”

Founded in 1900, Bayern Munich, of course, is the biggest German football club and the world’s third-biggest FC.

It is the holder of a record 26 national football titles.

The club, however, may lose Alaba to the English Premier League, where Guardiola, who will take over Manchester City next season, is expected to bring him, that is, if the boy is able to cut short his contract with Bayern Munich (it ends in 2021).

By next year, Alaba will be out of reach of Asian or European scouts, including those from the Azkals, the Philippine national football team.

Even if he was, Dan Palami and company would have to move heaven and earth to convince him to pack his bags and join the Azkals manager in Manila.

There obviously is the matter of buying out the teenager’s million-dollar contract with Bayern Munich.

By some miracle, Alaba could just say yes, because, well, he would love to serve his Pinay mom’s native land.

Miracles are miracles and so it is better for us football fans to get real.

Palami and company could look elsewhere, since it will probably still take a long time before the Philippine Azkals could be a really a homegrown eleven.

Until we find many more of the likes of Amani, Daisuke, Kenshiro and other equally young players to beef up the Azkals, talent-hunting abroad would likely continue.

Incidentally, the Austrian national football team is ranked 11th by FIFA and then Philippines, 115th.

With Alaba “the undisputed star” of his adopted country’s football team, he is tipped to make a difference, a very big one.

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1 Comment

  1. Keep dreaming, soccer/football/futbol will remain 2nd class sports activity relegated to the background under the shadow of BIG BUSINESS OF BASKETBALL EVERYWHERE, sandlots, sequestered-commandeered-blocked streets.
    The Koreans and Japs are a soccer playing Asians and they do have a balanced treatment of how they pare-manage their sports program. They have a legit pro baseball leagues that lands their ace pitchers in the MLB. Their talented soccer players are well recruited in Europe like EPL, Bundesliga, etc etc. We have yet to see a Pinoy talent showcasing his wares in the NBA.
    Alaba would surely give a boost to the sagging acceptability of the game in our Phil sporting landscape, but it will not upgrade the level and standards it is played within our neighbors in the Far East Asian soccer playing region…blame it all on basketball. A game the African race plays above the rim. We might as well grant a temporary “citizenship”to Didier Drogba, Eto’o, to play alongside Marcus Blatche.