Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times

AFC Cup

Guirado enjoys fairytale finale with Philippines win over North Korea

It always feels like it’s an end of an era whenever a player retires from international football. Nobody gets into any national team squad by accident as every slot if deemed precious by the coaching staff. When a player retires, they leave behind a squad they’ve served for many years. For the Philippine National Men’s Football Team (Azkals), the latest retiree center-back Juani Guirado.

Guirado shocked Filipino football fans when he announced his international retirement at the pre-match press conference of the North Korea game held last Monday (March 28, 2016) at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. The next day, Tuesday (March 29, 2016), was set to be the last time he was to don the Azkals shirt.

Eventually, the game proved to be a fantastic ending for Guirado as the Philippines beat North Korea, 3-2, in an unforgettable encounter. The fixture was the final match played in the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup second joint qualification round and the result guaranteed the Philippines passage to the next qualifying stage of the said continental competition. Guirado wore the captain’s armband that evening and save for a yellow card, had an impeccable game.

Still, I am shocked. A few years ago I dreamed this kind of game for my career with national team and now this dream is true. We finished winning a tough game. We finished giving everything. I finished also representing the country again with all my teammates. Thank you for everything. Thank you to (media), all the fans, all my friends, all my family, and all the staff and players who helped me all the time. I wish all the best for the future of Philippine football”, Guirado said after the match.

#ReadMore  Five players added to Azkals training pool for Kyrgyzstan friendly

Even if the result was the best possible outcome for the Philippines, Guirado admitted he and his teammates could have defended against North Korea’s goals better than they did. “We didn’t play the best game in defense. We have to recognize always the mistake, but fortunately for today we played good in offense.

DSC_3583 Guirado enjoys fairytale finale with Philippines win over North Korea AFC Cup Football News Philippine Azkals  - philippine sports news

With the Azkals, 1-2, down and only ten minutes left in the match, a few fans could be forgiven if they felt the home side was bound to suffer a second straight loss. Guirado, though, never lost faith in his team. “I think since we started the game, we played better than them. We showed we can win every time”, Guirado professed. He also felt that the result added credibility for Philippine football’s future. “We are showing year by year, working more and more, and growing. Like today we showed we can win against big teams in Asia.”

At the end of the current round, the Philippines finished at 3rd place in the group with 10 points behind Uzbekistan and North Korea. Taking into account that the group was arguably the toughest compared to the others and that the travel was excruciating, the Azkals can deem their campaign to be a success. For Guirado, the whole endeavor was fruitful for the Azkals. “Third place is a place we wanted before the start (of the round). Bahrain is a very good team and North Korea (above) us so I think amazing, amazing tournament.”

Before Guirado, fellow defenders Rob Gier and Jerry Lucena also announced their retirement from the squad. Nevertheless, Guirado felt that their retirement could be a blessing in disguise with young players ready to step up. “We have amazing young players. Only we have to get the best from them, for sure the coaches can do this.” One of the things, though, that Guirado will miss now that he’s retired internationally are his teammates from the Azkals. “They are for me like brothers. Promise, family. We stayed together long time, long concentration so all of them like brothers.

#ReadMore  Younghusband brothers look back on tournament that started it all - the 2005 SEA Games

In terms of what happens next, Guirado shall now have to focus on his club Ceres-La Salle as they are in the midst of their season. Ceres are currently participating in the 2016 UFL Cup and 2016 AFC Cup. Nevertheless, he left the room open for a possible coaching job. “You never know. It’s very difficult. I have to learn how to be coach and you never know in the future what’s happening.” While he may retire from the Azkals, he left a lot of good memories for their fans. And for that, he has left a huge mark in Philippine football.

 

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like

Basketball

The naturalization of Ivorian Angelo Kouame and Spaniard Bienvenido Marañón have been approved by the Philippine Senate, Monday afternoon. The upper chamber of congress...

Basketball

The naturalization of Ivorian Angelo Kouame and Spaniard Bienve Marañon got the nod of the Senate’s Committee on Justice.  In an online forum headed...

Basketball

Ivorian Angelo Kouame and Spaniard Bienve Marañon are a step closer to getting their Filipino citizenship. The House Committee on Justice has recommended the...

Football

When local sports fans discuss a pantheon of legendary football players in the country, there is no doubt that the name ‘Emelio “Chieffy” Asada...

Football

In a statement released Thursday evening, the ASEAN Football Federation announced that it has postponed its main competition, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020, to...

Football

In the history of Philippine sports, many foreign athletes have left their mark on their teams, teammates, and fans because of their high level...

Football

Playing for the national team at any level is one of the most incredible achievements that athletes can fulfill in their careers. James and...

Football

When future generations of Filipino sports fans discuss the history of Philippine football, James and Phil Younghusband will forever be part of that conversation....

Advertisement