MANILA, Philippines – Before becoming a reserve goalkeeper for the Philippine Azkals, Eduard Sacapaño only enjoyed football from the sidelines.
“Parang na-encourage ako na manood... Dati nun, kumukuha lang ako ng mga bola sa likod na lumalagpas. Kinukuha ko then binabalik ko sa kanila kasi ‘di pa ko marunong mag-football,” said Sacapaño.
His childhood friend encouraged him to try the game.
“Magkapit-bahay kami at sumisipa-sipa na. Sumasali din ako hanggang tinuturuan niya ko. Nagustuhan ko siya (football),” he added.
Sacapaño later joined the West Negros College varsity football team, where he took the role of a goalkeeper-- a part he would be playing for the next decade or so.
“Dati nga, ayoko ng goalkeeper kasi nakakatakot. Parang ang hirap ng responsibilidad,” confessed the Bacolod native.
He then joined the Philippine Army and became part of its team that saw action in the United Football League.
From there, he enlisted for the national team and became part of the Philippine Azkals in 2004.
Name: Eduard Sacapaño
Birthday: February 14, 1980
Birthplace: Bacolod City
Position in the Azkals team: Goalkeeper
Favorite player: Petr Cech
Other sports: Volleyball, basketball
Start of football career: He began playing at age 13
What’s your most memorable game?
'Yung naglaro kami last year sa (AFF) Suzuki Cup… First time naming natalo ang Vietnam, kasi ‘di talaga nananalo ang Pilipinas sa Vietnam. Natatalo lagi tayo ng Vietnam—tambak. Defending champion (ang Vietnam) tapos home court pa nila, so parang ‘yun ang pinakamemorable moment talaga. Andun lahat yung image na ‘di mo makakalimutan. Dun pumutok yung football natin dito... Na-encourage (kami) na ipakita sa atin na hinding-hindi tayo maliitin ng ganung team—na kaya nating makipagsabayan.
What would you be doing if you had not gotten into football?
Sport pa rin, volleyball, basketball. Siguro sa office, sa trabaho.
What’s the best thing about football?
Lahat andyan: ‘Yung physical endurance… Athletic talaga sa football, pati ulo mo gumagana.
What values have you learned in football?
Camaraderie, yung pagsasamahan, Paano ka makisama sa mga kasama mo. Nakikita rin mga individual na ugali namin. Kami sa team, madali kaming mag adjust eh… Lalo na kaming matatanda sa team.
Starting June 15, abs-cbnNEWS.com will feature several members of the Philippine National football team to give local football fans a chance to get to know better their favorite Azkals players.
ABS-CBN Sports will be airing live the home and away FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Philippine Azkals and Sri Lanka on June 29 and July 23.