Wed 17 August 2022

Vax cert woes stop UAAP standout from U23 cap

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At the U23 AFC Asian Qualifiers match between the Philippines and  Korea Republic held last October 25 in Singapore, former UAAP football standout Shanden Vergera—who was announced by the Philippine Football Federation as part of the squad—was visibly absent from the starting 11. In truth, the 22-year old native of San Carlos, Negros Occidental, was nowhere near Jalan Besar Stadium, the venue of the games.

As Shanden told Fulcourtfresh.com via Facebook Messenger, he was not able to fly to Singapore due to a reason that is beyond his control: “Hindi po ako natuloy dahil sa Covid policies nila po,” he explained. Asked to elaborate on the policies that prevented him from doing so, Shanden, who has completed his COVID-19 shots, said, “(‘Yung) QR code for vaccine certification which I don’t have it here in the US.”

According to the Singapore Government Development Portal, developer.tech.gov.sg, “…proof of COVID-19 Pre-Departure Test (PDT) result and/or vaccination records, in the form of certificates, is needed for travel.” Singapore does not accept paper or digital form of certificates which could be susceptible to forgery; their standard comes in the form of digitally authenticated and endorsed HealthCerts, “a globally-inter-operable standard for PDT results and vaccination certificates to facilitate the safe resumption of travel.”

Shanden played for the De La Salle University Green Booters in UAAP Season 81 wherein DLSU made it to the finals and he was awarded Rookie of the Year. Right after, the attacking midfielder was recruited by Snow College. And after a year at the Utah-based school, Shanden was offered a spot at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) in Tennessee where he now plays for LMU’s men’s soccer team, the Rail Splitters.

Having played for the U-18 and U-19 national squads, the call-up to be part of the U23 squad would have been another major milestone in Shanden’s international career.

He is disappointed that he is missing the U23 AFC Cup Qualifier (“Sayang po talaga,” he said.), but he continues to root for the young Azkals. “Hopefully, the team qualifies this year. Para maka-join ako sa Championship next year.”

The Philippines U23 squad lost to Korea Republic. They must win their next games against Singapore on October 28, and against Timor Leste on October 31, to make it to the next round of the competition.

(Photo from Shanden Vergara’s athlete Facebook page)

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