HIS past affinity with the Younghusband brothers may have helped sway his decision, but Dennis Wise was ultimately convinced to come to the country because of his desire to help Philippine football.
It was definitely a wise decision on his part.
A former skipper of Chelsea, the top-tier English football club where James and Phil spent their youth careers and briefly in the seniors’ reserve squad, Wise is in the country with fellow icon Fabio Cannavaro to grace the Clear Dream Match on Saturday.
“They want to develop Philippine football and if I can come here and help promote it, by all means, I’m more than happy to do that," Wise said.
Soon as he received the invitation from the popular Azkals pair, Wise said it didn’t take long for him to agree to travel across the globe and be part of the Younghusbands’ advocacy.
“I’m glad to be part of something that these guys are trying to achieve,” the 46-year-old English booter added.
Wise, a midfielder who spent half of his two-decade professional career at Chelsea — the last in 2001, will be teaming up with Phil, who was barely a teenager in the Premiership side's youth team when Wise captained the men’s squad.
“I probably seen him before when he (Phil) was still nine years old,” Wise joked.
The Younghusbands have come a long way since then. Arguably the most recognized faces of Philippine football, the celebrated English-Filipino brothers are doing their part not only for the national team, but in other ways to help the sport prosper in the country, where football, considered to be the world's most popular sport, takes a backseat to basketball.
“They have a vision and they have done a fantastic job,” Wise said. “They’re starting to progress even more.”
The Clear Dream Match, a charity event, will be played at the University of Makati football field by teams composed of United Football League stars, national team mainstays and celebrities.