Amid the country’s football craze, Filipino-British Phil Younghusband of the Philippine Azkals admitted that winning the FIFA World Cup is beyond the Philippines’ reach for now.
“Sana… pero hindi ngayon,” was Younghusband’s reply when asked point blank by “The Bottomline” host Boy Abunda if the country can win the World Cup.
“Pero sana, mga 20 to 30 years’ time,” he added.
For the sport of football to really flourish in the Philippines, a country that loves basketball, Younghusband said it would need the support from both the private and public sectors.
“Kailangan good investment… Kasi ‘yung important is where the money goes, ‘yung private sponsors, ‘yung public sponsors, ‘yung government sponsors,” he said.
Younghusband also cited the need for more football fields where the people can play.
’Yun ang mahirap. Konti lang [ang fields]. ‘Yung sa mga country clubs, kailangan [pang] magbayad,” he said.
Equally important is the effort to sustain the country’s interest in football, he added.
‘Football is for the masses’
Early this year, Younghusband and his elder brother and Azkals teammate James founded the Younghusbands Football Academy to encourage children to get into the sport as well as to train school coaches.
He said part of their reason in starting a football school is to erase the notion that football is for the affluent.
“’Yon ang problema dito sa Pilipinas,” said Younghusband.
“Kasi sa buong mundo, ‘yung image ng football, pang-masa. Pero dito sa Pilipinas [pang-mayaman]. Gusto naming palitan ‘yon,” he added.
The Philippine Azkals renewed the country’s interest in football when they defeated erstwhile champion Vietnam in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
Since then, the country’s football players have been mobbed and treated like rock stars, with the public eagerly awaiting their every game. Published in ABS-CBN News