It’s a match which they hope will not just settle a sibling rivalry but leave a lasting impact on Philippine football.
With a couple of legends adding prestige and glamor to a star-studded cast, the Clear Dream Match II tomorrow pitting teams formed by celebrated brothers Phil and James Younghusband seeks to sustain the rise of the Beautiful Game in the country.
Former Italy skipper and 2006 World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro and ex-England international and Chelsea legend Dennis Wise are beefing up Team James and Team Phil, respectively, for Philippine football’s virtual all-star game at University of Makati pitch.
“I know that football is not the No. 1 sport in the Philippines,” said Cannavaro in yesterday’s well-attended press conference at Makati Shangri-La. “That’s why we’re here to also help give football in this country a big push.”
“The decision to come here was easy,” said Wise. “I’m glad to have been given this kind of opportunity, to be part of something that will help promote football in the Philippines.”
“We hope to inspire a new breed of football players,” said Clear executive Drew Copuyoc.
Copuyoc said half of the match proceeds will go to relief efforts for Tropical Storm “Maring” with the other half benefiting the Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation.
Team Phil scored a 5-1 romp over Team James in the first edition of the Clear Dream Match last year. James is pulling out all the stops to avenge the loss and with a team built around Cannavaro, the older Younghusband is optimistic of his chances.
“He will bring professionalism and experience to my team,” said James of Cannavaro, who in 2006, became the only defender in recent memory to have won World Player of the Year.
Seven years after lifting the World Cup in Berlin, Cannavaro has kept himself in shape, working as assistant coach of Dubai club Al-Ahli.
With Wise in the fold, Phil Younghusband believes he has a team capable of repeating last year’s win.
“His experience and his skills are perfect for my team,” said Phil of Wise, a dynamic midfielder, who was first-team skipper when the Younghusbands joined Chelsea Academy.