Neymar is coming back to the Philippines. The Filipino Neymar that is.
As per London-based agent Steve Mac Hughes, Levi Gilmar Di Silva Fernandez-Lynch or popularly known as Gilmar have agreed to terms to take the pitch for Global Cebu FC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Pinoy football fans got their first glimpse of the highly-touted striker who resembled the popular Brazilian forward in June 2015 when he played on a six-month loan from Alloa FC of the second-tier Scottish Championship to Stallion FC of the United Football League. He ended up playing three games for the Ernest Nierras-coached club. Two years later, the Filipino-British striker suited up in 11 games for the Davao Aguilas under Australian manager Gary Phillips but the club finished seventh out of eight clubs in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League.
Fernandez-Lynch’ football journey started when he played for the under-8 to under-15 squads of Milwall FC. He also played for the U15 and U16 squads of Leyton Orient FC. Gilmar also spent time with the U16 and U18 squads of Dagenham and Redbridge FC. His talents also took him to Maltese Premiere League where he suited up for Floriana FC and Balzan FC. He last played for the Morecambe FC of the English Football League Two. Gilmar was also taken by Dundee United on trial.
Gilmar traces back his Filipino roots in Laguna wherein his grandmother, Concepcion Fernandez, hails from. Conceived by Charmainne Johanna Antheà Fernandez, football talent was embedded on his genes by his father, Rodney Lynch, who played for Crystal Palace FC.
A shot at Azkals glory
As early as 2010, former Azkals manager Simon McMenemy was keen on inviting Gilmar to train with the squad before the AFF Suzuki Cup. However, that did not materialize. In 2015, he used his Twitter account to express his intention to play for the Azkals after learning about the national team from a friend who used to be Neil Etheridge’s teammate at Fulham FC. Prior to that, he had turned down an opportunity to represent Jamaica.
In hopes of getting a spot with the Azkals, Fernandez-Lynch got his Philippine passport with the help of her grandmother. With the hype from his UFL stint gone and his apology over criticisms about Filipino football accepted, he can now focus on his game to impress Azkals manager Dan Palami and head coach Terry Butcher to finally consider him for the national squad.
Restoring the storied Global Cebu FC tradition
In an exclusive online interview with Fox Sports Philippines, new Global Cebu FC owner Mark Jarvis mentioned Gilmar’s importance in revamping the team’s roster after the departure of several high-profile players. “With his speed and better fitness level, we are hoping he will compliment Daryl Roberts and give us more scoring options. Gilmar was underrated at Davao and we believe we can bring the best out of him”, Jarvis said.
He will be an important piece for a Global Cebu FC squad that is rising from hard times. “With the release of some high-profile players we need to fill the gaps with some youth and experience”, Jarvis said. With renewed enthusiasm, the rebuilding process started last July 18 when Alvin Sarmiento, Charlie Beaton, and Christian Villegas made their debut in the 1-1 draw against Gilmar’s former squad, Davao Aguilas.
Jarvis has also mentioned the signing of centre-back Adam Mitter from Hougang United of the Singapore Premiere League and the returning centre-back Milan Nikolic who last played for FK Radnicki Pirot. Prior to his stint with the Serbian club, Nikolic manned the back line for FC Meralco Manila. Striker Joshua Beloya also returned to Global after playing for Ceres and Kaya in the UFL and Stallion Laguna in the PFL. Global Cebu FC have also acquired former University of Santo Tomas midfielder Marvin Bricenio.