Sidelined Azkals do their share to help

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 25 2012 10:22 AM | Updated as of Nov 25 2012 07:38 PM

BANGKOK – Though feeling down after training with the team nearly all year only to miss the cut for the final 22-man roster for the AFF Suzuki Cup, Anton Gonzales and four others relegated to the sidelines are taking it like real pros.

Gonzales, on the comeback trail after a hiatus from the national team, said he and Ian Araneta, Boogie Margarse, Joshua Beloya and Misagh Bahadoran remain supportive of the team and will do their share in other ways.

“For me, it’s a long road back. I’ve been away since 2007 and I just got back May this year. Looking at the group of players that the team has right now, very technically skilled players, high quality, to really just be included in the (initial) pool is for me an achievement in itself, considering I’d stopped competing internationally for 4-5 years already and I’m glad to be here,” said Gonzales.

The Loyola Meralco Sparks midfielder was among 26 players that the Azkals brought here before naming the final list.

“It’s normal to feel a bit down. Ian (Araneta), for example, has worked really hard despite not getting too many opportunities. I’m a bit down myself as well, but I can’t complain how the coach chose the team. Every player deserved slot. We’re quite down but we’re very supportive of the team, helping out any way we can,” he said.

Also the coach of UAAP three-peat champ University of the Philippines, Gonzales has been given a new task by chief tactician Michael Weiss.

“I’m gonna scout Vietnam’s game against Myanmar later (Saturday night) and then scout Myanmar (against Thailand) on the 27th. That’s the assignment coach Weiss gave me and even if he didn’t asked me to. I’ll still make the initiative to do that for the team,” he said.