There is little doubt that Philippine national football team winger Chieffy is the best homegrown player in the country.
Which is why even Azkals coach Hans Michael Weiss is convinced that Caligdong would have been a massive superstar had he grown up elsewhere.
“With the environment in the Philippines and the low level of education in football, he could only make it to this stage, which is already fantastic,” Weiss told affsuzukicup.com in a recent interview.
The German coach added that if Caligdong had grown up in England or Germany, he would have had enough education to be one of the best players in one of those football-mad countries.
With the influx of foreign-born talent into the Azkals, Caligdong remains one of the few homegrown talents who sees regular playing time on the team. Even Weiss is forced to admit that he enjoys watching the former Airman on the pitch.
“I like the way he moves. I like the way he understands the game,” Weiss said. “He’s one of my favorite players.”
Caligdong is best remembered for his sensational goal against Mongolia in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Bacolod City last year. He is among the most decorated members of the Azkals, winning the Golden Boot award in the 2011 Long Teng Cup.
Caligdong is currently working himself back to form after an injury during the United Football League campaign. There is uncertainty about his footballing future after he announced plans to migrate to the United States with his family, although he has assured that he will be committed to play for the Azkals in the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup.