Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Azkals’ coach Michael Weiss is upset over insinuations in Kuwait that seven players on the Philippine team were granted Philippine citizenship so they could play for the national team.
When asked about it by an Arab reporter, a peeved Weiss answered: “Every single player in the Philippine team is either pure Filipino or their father or mother came from the Philippines, so there are no imported players.”
“Whether they grew up in Europe or the Philippines doesn’t matter; they are Filipinos. If I compared the players of Qatar for example, I see many black players and I don’t know whether they are all pure Qataris. One thing is sure; all of our players can play legally in the Philippine national team,” he added.
Kuwait Times staff writer Ben Garcia reported that the Azkals coach was “clearly irked about the raising of the players nationality issue.”
He quoted Weiss as saying: “I think we have to deal with the players with respect and in fact I don’t want to deal with the subject because it hurts me personally, since my wife is from Japan and we have two kids. I don’t want them to be called half-half; they are human beings and they deserve respect as we have. For me, what is important is that they have an absolute right to play with their country’s national team.”
Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong, a known left-winger for the Philippine team, said that the team is no longer worried about the Kuwaiti weather.
“We already adjusted to the weather as far as we’re concerned,” he said, adding, “it was really hot, but we had two practice sessions already and we hope to give our best tomorrow.”
Asked whether the Philippines team had studied the playing strategies and techniques of the Kuwaiti teams, Caligong responded: “Yes we did, we watched their games carefully many times.”