The Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) throws its support to football’s renaissance as it revives the Mr. Football title during its Annual Awards Night three weeks from now at the Manila Hotel.
And to Phil Younghusband and Emelio “Chieffy” Caligdong belong the distinction of being bestowed the award once given to Filipino football greats such as Ed Ocampo, Eddie Pacheco, Bert Honasan, Vic Sison, among others.
As the current face of the celebrated Philippine Azkals, the two share center stage with the top sports achievers of 2011 during the March 3 event presented by Smart.
“The PSA is pleased to name Phil Younghusband and Chieffy Caligdong as recipients of its Mr. Football title in its coming Annual Awards Night,” said Rey Bancod of Tempo, and president of the oldest media organization in the Philippines first established in 1949.
The country’s sportswriting fraternity, composed of editors and sportswriters from national broadsheets and tabloids, has chosen boxing champ Nonito Donaire Jr. and pool king Dennis Orcollo as co-winners of the Athlete of the Year award.
No less than Vice-President Jejomar Binay will be on hand as guest of honor and keynote speaker in the yearly rite co-presented by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), SM Prime Holdings, Milo, ICTSI, Harbour Centre, and Coca-Cola.
Both Younghusband, a striker from Ashford Middlesex, England, and Caligdong, a left striker from Pototan, Iloilo , came aboard the national team in 2004.
But they only made their mark six years later when the Azkals pulled off a stunning upset of Vietnam on the way to a semifinal stint in the ASEAN Suzuki Cup.
Last year, Caligdong, 29, and Younghusband, 24, were at the helm of the Azkals team that qualified to the main tournament of the AFC Challenge Cup and reached the second round of the World Cup qualifier.
The two actually, accounted for the goals that saw the Azkals blanked Mongolia, 2-0, in Bacolod City, a win that enabled them to reach the AFC group qualifying in Myanmar .
In the Long Teng Cup held in Kaohsiung National Stadium in Taiwan , Caligdong shrugged off a nagging injury and emerged as the tournament’s top scorer to earn the Golden Boot trophy.
Younghusband, a Fil-British whose mother is a Filipina, was also awarded the Golden Boot award in the inaugural season of the United Football Cup. He was likewise responsible for the only goal scored by the Azkals in a 6-1 loss at the hands of global icon David Beckham and his L.A. Galaxy team, the reigning Major League Soccer champions.