Monday, 10 December 2012

‘Mind your language’ Philippine-style

With English, German, Finnish, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, and, last but certainly not least, native Filipino-speaking players on their squad, the Philippine Azkals are a virtual Tower of Babel. 

Credit the Filipino mothers of several overseas-based players for making them eligible to play for the national team.

But Jerry Lucena and Dennis Cagara call Denmark their home, Paul Mulders and Jason de Jong come from the Netherlands and siblings Angel and Juani Guirado and Carli de Murga from Spain, while team skipper Rob Gier and brothers Phil and James Younghusband have British roots.

Throw in Finnish Ray Jonsson, Germans Patrick Reichelt and Jeffrey Christiaens - ditto coach Michael Weiss - plus goalkeeper Eduard Sacapano and Chieffy Caligdong, who were both born and raised in the Philippines, and you have a cocktail of languages sloshing around at training and on the park.

Team manager Dan Palami admitted that communication problems crop up among his players once in a while. 

“Certainly the problem is there. You have Spanish-speaking players not really understanding what the English-accented players are trying to say,” Palami noted in a recent interview. 

However, he said that since the players have been together on-and-off the pitch for over a year now, they have managed to bridge the language gap and, “I think somehow they have learned to communicate.”

“And whatever language they’re using, it seems I can’t even understand as well,” Palami quipped.

“As far as the players are concerned, they have been able to deal with the communication problem,” he added, proving once again that the universal language of football is something nearly everyone can understand. 

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