By Eric Dimzon
The former Denmark youth international made his senior debut with the Philippines earlier this month as Goal.com caught up with him to discuss his intentions with the Azkals.
Former Brondby and Hertha Berlin defender Dennis Cagara may have been born and raised in Denmark and begun plying his trade professionally in Germany, but he recently made the big decision to commit his future to the Philippines before making his international debut for the Azkals earlier this month against Singapore.
Cagara, 26, was capped at various youth levels by Denmark and is currently playing in the Danish Superliga with Lyngby BK, and his decision to play for the Azkals has garnered a lot of attention in the Philippines. The defender qualifies to play for the South-East Asian nation, who are ranked 158th in the world, as his father hails from the Philippines.
When Goal.com caught up with the former Denmark youth international, the discussion centred on how his decision came about to represent the nation of his father’s birth.
Goal.com: How did Filipino football officials get to know about you?
Dennis Cagara: Filipino football officials spotted me when I was still playing in Germany in Bundesliga. I really can’t remember the name of the person who first contacted me. But I got a letter from Filipino officials in the club. My father talked to Philippine Football Federation officials back then as well.
I was only 18-years-old then and was looking forward to representing the Danish national team. But I had a very bad injury. I was out for more than a year. But (Philippines Football Federation consultant) Paul Weiler got in touch with me. I got to talk to (team manager) Mr. Dan Palami and coach (Michael) Weiss as well. And now, I am playing for the Philippine Azkals.
Goal.com: What are your expectations from the Philippines team?
DC: I expect the team to welcome me and allow me to do my part. I expect the team to play as one cohesive unit and not really depend on individual players. The most important thing is for the team to have teamwork. In time, I also expect the team to compete against the biggest football nations in Asia.
Goal.com: Will you play for the Philippines in the South-East Asian (SEA) Games in November ?
DC: Nothing is definite yet. Let’s see what happens after the friendlies. But now that I am part of the Philippine team, I want to play in as many games as possible. I hope that the Danish league allows me to play in the SEA Games. I will be happy and proud to represent the Philippines in the SEA Games in November.
“I expect the team to play as one cohesive unit and not really depend on individual players. In time, I also expect the team to compete against the biggest football nations in Asia.”
– Cagara on Philippines’ potential
Goal.com: Do you see the Philippines becoming a football nation?
DC: I’ve been following football in the Philippines through the internet. I am happy that it is becoming a popular sport. I think football will be big in the Philippines. The influx of half-Filipino players from Europe certainly draws interest to the sport. It will really take a lot of hard work to make football as big as basketball in the Philippines. But with the support of everyone, I think it could happen.