By Bong Pedralvez
Striker Phil Younghusband is now “70 percent” recovered from a torn right hamstring and should be ready to join the national men’s football team fitness camp that kicks off early May, according to conditioning coach Joseph Malinay.
|Phil Younghusband likely to start training on May|
“Phil is 70 percent fit and he will be ready to join our fitness camp next month,” said Malinay, who was tasked by team manager Dan Palami to monitor the rehabilitation of the popular 24-year-old forward.
“He is still undergoing treatment with St. Luke sports doctor Randy Molo but everything is on track,” Malinay added.
Younghusband suffered the injury during the second leg of the Azkals’ Asian Challenge Cup qualifiers against Mongolia in Ulan Bator last March 15 which they lost 1-2. They still managed to reach the group stage in Myanmar a week later with a 3-2 aggregate score.
As a result, Younghusband was sidelined during the Myanmar competition where the Filipino booters finished second behind group champion Palestine to earn a ticket to the main tournament next year.
Since then, the younger of the Younghusband siblings on the national team– the other being midfielder James—has been undergoing rehab under the watchful eyes of Malinay, who saw Phil’s performance in last week’s Smart Club competitions as a positive sign in his recovery.
“He (Phil) told me that he wasn’t really pushing himself in the tournament. Laru-laro lang. But it’s a good indication that he’s regaining his shape,” he said.
In his first outing for a local club, Younghusband scored the opening goal in Rizal’s 10-0 romp over Laguna last Wednesday to cap the team’s four-game sweep of the North-South-Central Luzon cluster eliminations of the Smart Club Championship.
Malinay said the coaching staff hopes the striker would be “80 to 90” percent fit when the fitness camp opens “and 100 percent ready when we begin our World Cup qualifying series against Sri Lanka on June 29.”
After a five-day respite, Younghusband will resume his rehab tomorrow as he continues with his agility and flexibility workouts, Malinay said.
Malinay said national coach Han Michael Weiss, who is in Germany to scout and recruit more team hopefuls, is set to return on April 28. On his arrival, the venue for the training camp will be decided.
The Alabang Country Club inside the plush Ayala Alabang subdivision in Muntinlupa City and the International School of Manila at the Fort in Taguig City are being eyed as possible sites of the camp. Source