When Nate Burkey headed in a goal at the 50th minute in the first leg of the Azkals’ against Sri Lanka on Wednesday, it was the the Philippines’ first goal in a World Cup qualifier in ten years. The feat was doubly sweet for the Filipino-American Burkey, who made his international debut for the Philippines after coming in for Phil Younghusband at the 20th minute mark of the game.
We caught up with Burkey shortly after the match, and he was kind to sit down for a brief interview.
Nate Burkey (right) poses with the author after the Azkals’ match against Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Photo by Craig Burrows.
Roy Moore: Congratulations on scoring today! How does it feel to have scored the Philippines’ first goal in the World Cup for over a decade?
Nate Burkey: It feels amazing… it couldn’t have come at a better time.
RM: How are the team dealing with the overall result and the performance?
NB: We’re a little disappointed with the result and overall morale is a little low but we can be happy with the away goal and a draw. There were higher expectations but we can still qualify on Sunday.
RM: Some of the players seemed a little tired on the pitch and it seems there were a few injuries. How much did that affect the game?
NB: Yeah there’s been a lot of traveling, some of us feel a little dragged out and tired. We have a few days rest though and will be home for a while. It’ll be a good time to be going home.
RM: How are the team preparing for Sunday and the chance to qualify for the next round?
NB: Well the pitch was a little difficult to play on as it wasn’t even and had many weeds. We’re looking forward to the ground at the Rizal Memorial Stadium and the game on Sunday. The guys are already talking about it.