Filipino-Swiss defender Michael Kempter took almost two years to finally get his clearance for the Philippines, and when he finally got the go-ahead for it, his alleged debut against Guam in March did not stop due to the coronavirus pandemic the joint qualification for the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asia Cup.
Kempter, who plays for the Swiss Super League powerhouse FC Zurich, admits that the long wait served as additional motivation to help the Azkals reach the third round of the qualifying tournament.
"You can expect me to be a leader," said the 25-year-old Kempter to the investigator. “I want to play more in possession of the ball and not just defend it. But even if we have to fight, we will fight together. I think with my quality we can play more football from behind to attack and not just bring the ball forward. "
Kempter was a target of Azkals management for a long time, but only two years ago the former Swiss U21 player decided to represent his mother's country. He is one of several players recommended by coach Scott Cooper to strengthen the team that has big ambitions over the next two years.
Other players on Cooper's wish list are Jesper Nyholm from Sweden, Bernd Schipmann, Gerrit Holtmann, Raphael Obermair and Oliver Bias from Germany and Jefferson Tabinas from Japan.
After James Younghusband retired his younger brother Phil last week, the Azkals have certainly said goodbye to the era of players who became faces of Filipino football in 2010 with the miracle in Hanoi. Of this team, only Neil Etheridge remains in the squad.
It was a test of patience for Kempter and the Azkals as they worked on his documents to finally secure his justification. Kempter had to secure a transfer of sporting nationality when he played for Switzerland in his youth.
"It was really tough," said Kempter, who was also recovering from two ACL operations when he received Cooper's invitation. “I had a very good point in my career when I was injured. I haven't played for two years, but I struggled back to regain my place in the club and get a chance in some friendly matches. And now I'm playing competitive games. I think I already have the second and third chance in my career. "INQ
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