THE Philippine men’s football team is closer to acquiring another potentially prolific striker from overseas.
Javier Patiño, a Filipino-Spanish striker who starts for Spanish second-division club Cordoba, is in the process of acquiring his Philippine passport, which would make him eligible to play for the Azkals in future fixtures.
A certification or “consularization” of documents from the Spanish embassy and permission from his professional club are the only two things that are keeping the highly touted booter from suiting up for the country.
Rafa Garcia, who acts as a liaison officer, among other duties, for the national team, said management has sent on Friday a letter to Cordoba and Patiño’s manager asking for the 6-foot, 24-year-old striker’s release for the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in March.
“The (Philippine citizenship application) documents, they're here in Manila. I’ve double-checked already, pero kulang pa rin," said Garcia when Spin.ph caught up with him after he watched Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals between Talk N Text and Rain or Shine at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night.
"Hopefully, if his team will give him permission to leave, then we can have all the documents in Manila,” added Garcia, brother of Painters assistant Caloy Garcia and cousin of Azkals striker Angel Guirado.
Garcia hopes they can accomplish Patiño’s citizenship papers before the end of the month for the latter to make it in time for the Challenge Cup.