Forget that we lost to the Indons in the semis of the Suzuki Cup. Forget too this lad named Chad Gould. If there is one player the Philippines should pursue to sustain the football revolution triggered by the Azkals, it must be an 18-year old teen phenom from Austria.
This teen sensation is now regarded as the great hope of the Alpine nation of Austria and plays for the Champions League ballclub Bayern Munich of Germany.
Who is this boy and why the interest in him? I googled his name and found some interesting facts about this kid.
David Olatokunbo Alaba was born on June 24, 1992 in Vienna, Austriato a Nigerian father George and a Filipino mother Gina who is described as a nurse and former Miss Philippines back in the 80s. His father earns his salary as musician and rapper. That makes him a multiracial individual. He is a citizen of Austria by birth and may also be a citizen of both Nigeria and Philippines by choice.
According to his web profile, David Alaba started his football club playing days at 9 years old playing for SV Alpern. Austria Vienna cashed in on his talent and brought him into their youth academy. Alaba was an instant sensation in Vienna's youth ranks, playing for their U-17s as a 14-year-old. As a 15-year-old, he suited up for the U-19s and not too long after in April 2008 he was a teener sitting on the bench with the Austria Vienna professional club.
Bayern Munich found the talented youngster in summer of 2008 and brought him to their academy. He played for the U-19s in 2008-09 and he started the 2009-10 season with Bayern's amateur team in the third league. David was eligible to train under the Bayern professionals as early as January 2010.
He was also described as “a confident, grounded and intelligent young man. He helps to coach the Bayern U-11 team and also works as a helper at a school for handicapped.”
This boy wonder surely has reached full stardom as a booter. And in Austria he is even considered as a “a jewel and blessing.” It was former Austrian great and current Austrian U-21 national team coach Andreas Herzog who has called Alaba a "jewel, a blessing for Austrian football"
While it looks like Alaba could be what the doctor...err veterinarian (?) ordered for the Azkals, the chances of convincing him to play here are either slim or none. The reason is, Alaba is already the subject of a tug of war among Nigeria, Germany and Austria—three nations which are regular World Cup qualifiers. If David plays in any of the three nations, he is assured of seeing action before World Cup lights.
The same cannot be said of the Philippines. If he plays for the Azkals, he bids his dream of playing in the WC where the world’s best compete in football’s grandest stage. There is only one hope he will play for us—that is, if his mother says so.
But I will not bank on that.
For the record, Alaba has set the record as the youngest player ever to play on Austria’s national team and broke the record of Toni Kroos (17 years, 265 days old) as the youngest ever to suit up for Bayern Munich.
No doubt, Alaba will be a future football star whether or not he plays for Germany, Austria, Nigeria or the Philippines. Let’s admit it, he has more chances of conquering the big stage wearing the colors of either of the three countries outside us. But he can make his mark in history if he carries a World Cup stranger like the Philippines to greater football heights.
Here’s hoping he will. If not, let’s hope to find more talents from our dogpounds...err, backyard.