With the postponed 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup finally taking place this month in Singapore, the Philippine Azkals, their coaches, and other staff members are bound to make a huge sacrifice by devoting themselves to the country’s quest to bring home the championship instead of enjoying the festive season with their loved ones.
One member of the team, though, is playing under totally different circumstances compared to his brothers on the pitch. Daisuke Sato, the 27-year-old defender, is taking things further by committing himself to the cause despite suffering from a personal loss just a few days ago.
“My father, who was never home, but who has been always there for me when I needed it,” posted the 5-foot-7 Filipino-Japanese on his Instagram account.
“It has been one of the hardest days of my life since my father passed away last Tuesday. I’ll always carry his name proudly on my back with honor.”
Sato’s immense gesture and choice to be with the Azkals contingent in Singapore provoked an overwhelming amount of sympathy and respect towards him by Filipino football fans and his peers in the sport. No less than Philippine Football Federation President Nonong Araneta sent his condolences during the pre-tournament press conference hosted by local tournament broadcaster TapGo.
“I would also like to express my condolences to Sato who has lost his father a few days ago but now he is in Singapore to represent the country,” said Araneta. “Even with the challenges, we trust that (the players) would give 110 percent for the flag.
“We’re hoping that this time it’s also the tournament where we’ll get our first major trophy.”
It is never easy to lose a parent despite the inevitability of the situation. For his part, Sato promises to use the upcoming campaign to honor his father by doing what he does best – being a tough player on the pitch for the flag and nation.
“I’m sure you were very excited to watch me play on Suzuki Cup to serve the country. I promise to make you proud like always father. No matter where I am, your spirit will be beside me. Rest well. Bye for now.”