Barsales hangs up boots
MANILA—Yanti Barsales, a key player for the national team the past two decades, has retired from international football, ending a stellar career that started long before the sport enjoyed unprecedented popularity in the country.
A staff sargeant with the Philippine Air Force, Barsales, 38, said a recurring foot injury and the Azkals’ tight schedule prompted him to make the decision.ADVERTISEMENT
“Mixed emotions,” said the Barotac Nuevo-born Barsales when asked how he felt about the decision.
“As much as I wanted to play, I’m tired. I also want to spend more time with my family,” the father of four said.FEATURED STORIES
Barsales, who played in four Southeas Asian Games tournaments and four ASEAN Championships, considers the triumph inVietnam in the Suzuki Cup as the highlight of his career.
“I’m just happy to have been part of the success of the team,” said Barsales.
While playing for the national team, Barsales, a striker, who made his debut in 1992, earned a reputation as a tough player with a remarkable workrate.
In his last tournament for the Azkals, Barsales created a major impact, coming in as a second half substitute to force the penalty that led to the opening goal against Myanmar in the AFC Challenge Cup.
Barsales was on the recieving end of a nasty kick on the chest from the Burmese keeper during the play.
Bleeding profusely because as he was treated on the bench, Barsales tried to return to the game only to be stopped by the coaching staff.
He shrugged of the injury and played in the last two games of the Challenge Cup and even started in the 3-0 victory overBangladesh that sealed qualification.ADVERTISEMENT
“He is the toughest player on the team,” said skipper Aly Borromeo. “He’s been through so many battles.”
Azkals manager Dan Palami paid tribute to Barsales for his contributions to the team’s success.
Palami described Barsales as “unassuming, uncomplaining, dependable and a tireless workhorse.”
“He never sought the spotlight even when he deserved it,” Palami said.
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