Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Fair Play: Azkals welcome Zayne Malik into its fold

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's April 1 edition)
THE Philippine Azkals profile and reach will reach new highs and shrieks after team management revealed it has signed up former One Direction member Zayn Malik for the World Cup qualifiers.

Malik traces his Filipino lineage to having been born in a hospital ran by Filipinos in Bradford and has long dreamed of becoming an international football player. It was during the lead-up to One Direction's tour to the Philippines that he finally got the chance.

"Zayn Malik always wanted to be a football player, and he finally got the chance. When he learned about the Philippine tour, he also learned about the Azkals and he seized the opportunity,” said Malik's official spokesperson April Folle.

Folle said joining the Azkals is why Malik left One Direction, and that news about him pursuing a solo career was just fodder for the rumor-hungry tabloid press.

“Fools. Everybody falls for any news even if it's obviously a joke and cannot be true!” Folle said.

Dan Palami, the team manager of the Azkals who attended the One Direction concert as part of the deal that signed Malik is ecstatic. Palami said he was forced to watch the One Direction concert in disguise as the deal was still being worked out.

Diri baya ito amo an at ginsabotan. An imo saad ha akon mahitungod han UP Maroons it imo igsusurat yana," Palami said.

According to Palami, aside from providing the much-needed fan revenue for the Azkals, Malik's immediate role in the Azkals is to be the fourth member in the backline under coach Thomas Dooley's new system that calls for three defenders.

And, as Palami cited in the quote above, Malik will be with the Maroons as he will be studying Classical Music at UP Diliman during his stint with the Azkals.

“He wants to learn what real music is, not music where you get an indecent proposal every other stanza,” said Folle.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has endorsed the move.

“Marvelous! I always say the impossible is more profitable. If we can have Qatar host the World Cup in winter, the Azkals can have...what's his name a new member,” said Blatter.

On the other hand, Coach Dooley admitted that he was caught by surprise but welcomed the move.

“A fourth member in my backline? I guess the Fantastic Four will become a quintet. But I'll welcome him, after all, he's Zayne,” he said.

Palami, Dooley and the rest of the coaching staff are expected to announce the move on April 1, two days after their latest friendly against Bahrain.

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