One of the most celebrated members of the Philippine Azkals, Chieffy Caligdong owns the distinction of being the only homegrown, local-trained player in the team’s starting XI.
At 5-5, Caligdong is proof that Filipinos can make it big in the international football scene, and that height is hardly a factor in a sport whose key personalities boast Western pedigrees.
Born Emelio Asada Caligdong, Chieffy plays left winger for the Philippine Air Force and the Azkals team. He is an enlisted member of the Philippine Air Force.
Caligdong made his football debut in the 2004 Tiger Cup, playing all four matches and scoring three goals. He catapulted into national prominence after scoring the first goal in the Azkals' match against Mongolia at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualification playoffs at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City last February.
The diminutive booter cemented his status as one of the country’s top players when he let loose a left foot shot that went in for the Filipinos in their second leg match against Sri Lanka in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the rain-drenched Rizal Coliseum last July 3.
That goal by Caligdong proved to be the rallying point for the Azkals, who went on two nail three more goals to dominate the Brave Reds, 4-0, and advance to the next round against Kuwait.
Caligdong also suited up for the Philippines U-23 at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.