If he had his way, Philippine Army assistant coach Ricky Cain would have readily released Trooper Ed Sacapaño to national team duty for the Azkals’ friendly against Malaysia on Saturday night in Kualu Lumpur.
The homegrown Azkals goalkeeper was among the late scratches in the lineup against the country’s Southeast Asian neighbor as he failed to get clearance from Army, which required a two-week notice of a call-up before allowing its player to go on national duty.
The Philippine Football Federation announced the roster only last Tuesday, while the letter requesting the 34-year-old Sacapaño’s release came Wednesday — just three days before the friendly.
“Late na-process kaya hindi pinayagan ng commanding officer niya,” Cain told Spin.ph.
It seemed ironic that the pride of Bago City, Negros Occidental is an Army corporal, yet he was not allowed to serve his country.
But Cain couldn’t do anything about it.
“Para rin 'yan sa Army,” was all he could say.
The development has given promising 23-under standout Patrick Deyto not just his spot, but the starting nod as well against Malaysia.