HIS 50th international goal, for sure, cemented Phil Younghusband’s legacy in Philippine football.
The charismatic strike star, however, wasn't thinking about personal milestones on this historic night, saying all that mattered to him was seeing the Azkals book a maiden appearance in the Asian Cup.
“I don’t know if I even have a legacy,” said a smiling Younghusband after scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over Tajikistan on Tuesday at the Rizal Stadium.
“I think this cements everyone’s legacy everyone who has been a part of this. I just feel very blessed that I get to play the sport I love and enjoy it in the country I love. I don’t think about it as a legacy, I’m just so blessed to be part of this,” he added.
Younghusband’s moment was almost poetic as a handball in the 90th minute gave the Azkals a penalty -and a chance to win the game after going a goal down in the 64th minute.
Getting that 50th goal was certainly special, but what’s even more special for him was how they collectively worked for that opportunity to claw back from the jaws of defeat.
“For me, the feeling of going to the Asian Cup, that’s what matters to me. Like I said, if it came from this game or 10 games’ time, that wasn't on my mind. It was about getting the win. If we’d won with my own goal, that meant more for me. To have the feeling at the same time makes it more special,” he added.
“It showed the spirit of the Filipino people, the fighting spirit. Even when we’re down, we can bounce back and I think we showed and typified it today,” he added.
Of all the challenges and the criticism they faced over the past few years, Younghusband wouldn’t have it any other way.
From the high of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup to the heartbreaking moment in the Challenge Cup in 2014 – it was the perfect reward for all the sacrifices that he’s made since then.
“It’s been up and down, it’s been crazy but it’s been amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” said Younghusband. “This is number one. This feeling right now, I share it with my family, friends and my teammates."