Thursday, 9 February 2012

Injured Chieffy continues work for Azkals

By Alfonso Ramirez

DUBAI — No pain, no gain.

Philippine national men’s football team vice-captain Chieffy Caligdong winced and gasped for air as he performed light exercises on the first day of the national football team’s training camp in Dubai Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Philippine Air Force midfielder, who suffered a knee injury during a UFL match between his team and the Philippine Army last January 28 and was earlier ruled out of the Azkals’ 10-day Middle East tour, was given the green light to join his teammates after he passed a fitness test conducted by Dr Randy Molo at the Moro Lorenzo Gym in Ateneo last Friday.

“I’m joining the team in exercises, but it’s sad. It’s my first time to go abroad and not be playing with the Azkals,” Caligdong said during a press conference held before the national squad headed for their first workout at the Al Maktoum Stadium practice pitch.

Doctors attending to Caligdong earlier feared that the footballer suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but an MRI scan on his left knee showed no signs of the injury.

“Kailangan mas madali at maging mas maaga yung recovery kasi hindi siya basta-basta. First time kong magka-injury nang ganito sa tuhod so siguro two to three weeks pa… depende sa therapist kung anong movement ang kakayanin ko. Dinadahan-dahan muna. May mga exercises na pinagawa pero yung mga lateral moves, hindi muna,” he told InterAKTV on the sidelines of the Azkals’ training session.

Caligdong revealed that he sustained three injuries on his left knee – an LCL (lateral collateral ligament), an MCL (medial collateral ligament) and a partial ACL.

The airman from Pototan, Iloilo added that this is his fourth time to visit the cosmopolitan city in the Persian Gulf region.

“It’s nice to be back here. This is actually my fourth visit. My first time here was when I played in the beach football World Cup,” he said as he quickly clarified that the Azkals are not here on a holiday.

“We’re not on vacation. We are here to toughen up for the tough Challenge Cup in Nepal next month,” Caligdong said.

The Azkals, led by coach Hans Michael Weiss, arrived in Dubai on Tuesday evening after an eight hour direct flight from Manila.

The team is scheduled to hold three training sessions before going up against the Uzbekistan under-23 team in a friendly match on Saturday at the Al Nasr Sports Club’s Al Maktoum Stadium. The national squad will also fly to neighbouring Qatar to play a friendly against Al Ahli Football Club then return to Dubai to face the Qantas Australia under-23 team on February 16.

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