Phil Younghusband, one of the driving forces behind Philippine football resurgence in the 2010s officially retired from competitive football at the age of 32.
“Hanging up my boots!” Younghusband wrote in his Instagram account, quoted in a report of ESPN 5. “Thank you to my bosses, my coaches, teammates, competitors, and all the supporters who have been part of my journey.”
Younghusband last played for the Davao Aguilas in the Philippines Football League (PFL) before the club disbanded in late 2018. He also suited for Loyola Meralco Sparks in the defunct United Football League (UFL), which later participated in the PFL before he transferred to the Aguilas in August 2017.
In his stint with the Sparks, he won the PFF National Men’s Club Championship title in 2015.
Younghusband started his football career, playing for Chelsea youth football team back in 2005, later he was a loan to Dutch club Esbjerg before decided to continue his professional football career in the Philippines.
But Younghusband will remember as one of the driving forces on Philippine football resurgence in the 2010s, thanks to ‘’Miracle in Hanoi’’ which he scored one of the goals to help the Philippine Azkals qualified to the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals for the first time at the expense of then-defending champion Vietnam.
He is also vital in the Azkals qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup back in March 2018 in scoring the penalty kick in their 2-1 victory over Tajikistan and was part of the Azkals line-up in different international tournaments.
Younghusband last suited for the Azkals during the AFC Asian Cup last January 2019 at the United Arab Emirates.
The Fil-British striker and former Azkals captain finished his national team stint with 52 goals and 108 appearances.
“I want people to say that was a really good person before a football player. Then I want people to say he contributed to football a lot and he’s a big part where football is now in the country,” Younghusband said on the Across The Line podcast of former Azkals member Chris Greatwich, quoted in an article for Inquirer.net.
Azkals U-22 fall short in SEA Games men’s football campaign
The Philippine U-22 Azkals failed to advance in the semifinals of the men’s football tournament of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games despite winning their last group stage match against Timor-Leste, 6-1.
Amani Aguinaldo achieved a hat-trick for the Azkals U-22 after recording goals in 43rd, 86th and 90th minute while Stephan Schrock found the back of the net in the 4th minute. Mar Vincent Diano and Dylan de Bruckyer added goals in the 54th and 78th minutes respectively.
Despite a goal bonanza, the Azkals U-22 failed to advance in the semifinals of the men’s tournament due to Cambodia had a higher goal difference.
“They gave all their best in this competition but the sport is like that. Sometimes you deserve to go up but you’re unlucky, but I am confident that we’ll be much better next time,” said Azkals U-22 head coach Goran Milojevic via Spin.PH
“I told them, they’ve already done what they can do and they’re heroes for me. We deserve to be in the semifinals. We just have small things to fix for the big future and next time I’m sure we’ll be luckier.”
After a dramatic end in their SEA Games campaign, preparation for the 2021 SEA Games is now underway for the Azkals U-22 team as the management is looking to jell the core of the team much better.
“This is the start of the continuous process,” said Azkals U-22 manager Dan Palami via Manila Bulletin.“I’ve asked the permission of the PFF to continue with the program and put our under-22s and under-23s to join the [PFL] league and continue with this development.’’
“With the shortlist that we have, there are about 12 players still eligible for the next SEA Games so we have a strong pool now and we need to continue nurturing them.”