When will the Philippines find their new Paulino Alcántara?

Lerche Njang Roar Rookie

By Lerche Njang, Lerche Njang is a Roar Rookie

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    When will the Philippines find their new Paulino Alcántara? The half-Filipino, half Spanish football hero that set records at FC Barcelona that only Lionel Messi can break.

    The Iloilo-born net breaker set goal scoring record in FC Barcelona with 369 goals in 357 games that stood for many years before he was overtaken by Leonel Messi on 16 March 2014.

    His record as the youngest player to ever score for FC Barcelona in an official match at the age of 15 is still yet to be broken.

    With the influx of half Filipinos in the Philippine National teams, and the newly formed Profesional Football League (PFL), there is a feeling that Alcántara will be found. However, the truth is that the new Alcantara will not be found abroad.

    At this period of time, world-class Filipinos playing abroad will surely not be ready to represent the motherland because of the competitive edge and of course the financial reward they will have playing oversea.

    David Alaba, for example, is a world-class player currently playing for Bayern Munich and Austria National Team. He holds Austria’s record as the youngest player to play for their senior national team, debuting for them in 2009 as a 17-year-old. His mother is a Filipina while his father is a Nigerian.

    The Philippines for sure will find the new Alcantara at home as football authorities have started to pay more attention to youth development.

    The two summer youth football leagues (YFL and NCR) are over but were there new possible Alcántara scouted for the country’s development center during this period?

    I read on Four Four Two about Shane Clemente, a young talented Filipino footballer who has already experienced Wembley and Old Trafford at the age of 12 saying:

    “I want to play at FC Barcelona because that’s where Alcantara played” ” “He was known for breaking the net and I’m going to be known for breaking the net and the goalpost”.

    This is one of the many talented young players at home that should be in the development center under the watchful eye of the Philippines Football Federation and I look forward to meeting this young talent to discuss how far he has gone with his football development.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • Roar Guru

      June 27th 2017 @ 8:04am
      Ben of Phnom Penh said | June 27th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Given the prevalence of the game down South, the answer may be once Bangsamoro is embraced by the broader footballing community. Sadly, that may be some distance off.

    • June 27th 2017 @ 12:11pm
      Melange said | June 27th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      Lerche, thanks for contributing, it’s always great to hear what’s happening in other parts of the AFC. I wonder how Alaba qualified to play for Austria? Long term residence?

    • June 27th 2017 @ 12:34pm
      Chris said | June 27th 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

      Wow impressive stats! Better than a goal a game.
      Basketball is huge in the Philipines so not sure if the next Alcantara will be found.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 1st 2017 @ 8:31pm
        Lerche Njang said | July 1st 2017 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

        There is a possibility for sure! However, there is still a long way to do so as football is still regarded as a game for the rich.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 2:08pm
          Anton said | August 11th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          Let me chime in as a Filipino football fan living in the Manila area. It is true basketball is the undisputed king of Philippine sports right now – where just about every village has people who watch and play the game. However, football is a lot stronger and more popular in Visayas and Mindanao than in Luzon (where Manila is) – which can be deduced by the percentage of top level talents coming from there (relative to the overall share of the nation’s population they have), and the match attendance figures. Sadly, the country is heavily Manila-centric and Luzon has over half of the population and economic output of the country, presenting a major obstacle by itself!

          Any point about football being considered a game for the rich and needing more mass-based grassroots programs will be doubly true up in Luzon. And the point about ALL regions (including both Luzon and the Bangsamoro) needing to be actively involved is also true! The main point is, in order to increase the odds of finding the new Paulino Alcantara, EVERY region needs to be at least as strongly involved as people in places like Panay, Negros, or Cebu are. We fans of the game are trying our best to accelerate the time frame here, but we still know a lot more has to be done before we get to that level! Thanks.

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