By Gabriel Tan in Bangkok
And as one of the elder statesmen in the Azkals’ 22-man squad, the Ascot United centre-back is keen to let his younger team-mates know it is important they make of the opportunity that’s currently in front of them.
Having finally made it to the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup two years ago for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1996, Philippines are 90 minutes away from matching that achievement when they take on the White Angels at the Suphachalasai Stadium on Friday.
A win would be enough to guarantee them their place in the last four and Gier admits that at the age of 31, he is fast running out of chances to help his country to regional glory.
“It’s really exciting in the camp at the moment” he told ESPNSTAR.com. “These opportunities don’t come along very often and when you get into the latter years of your career, like myself, you have to take these opportunities when they come along.
“I think myself and the rest of the guys are really looking forward to it.
“We’re confident but not overly confident. Let’s not forget Myanmar drew with Vietnam 1-1 so this is obviously going to be a massive game and a very important game.
“I think we’re going to have to put in as much effort into this game as we did in the Vietnam game [a 1-0 win for Philippines on Tuesday]. We’ve got to stay totally focused on what we have to do and get the result at the end.”
Two years ago, the lack of a certified stadium in Philippines meant the Azkals had to play both legs of their semi-final clash with Indonesia in Jakarta, ultimately succumbing to a 2-0 aggregate defeat.
Earlier in the tournament, Philippines striker Phil Younghusband revealed they were hugely motivated by the prospect of bringing Suzuki Cup football to the country this time around, and Gier echoed his team-mate’s sentiments.
“At that time two years ago, it was a really big disappointment [not to be able to play at home] so that’s one of the driving factors for us to do well this time,” the ex-Wimbledon man revealed.
“After the Suzuki Cup, we actually had a home game in the [2014 FIFA] World Cup qualifiers against Sri Lanka and that was one of the highlights of my career, and we want to take that back and get that experience all over again.
“It’s a big driving factor to play in front of our friends and families and all the rest of the Filipino people as well.”
For the longest of times, Philippines were regarded as whipping boys of the region, but that is certainly no longer the case given their stunning rise in recent years.
Nonetheless, Gier insists they are not overnight sensations and believes they have what it takes to maintain their status as one of Southeast Asia’s stronger sides.
“I think so [that Philippines their current standing in the region],” he added.
“People talk about the last couple of years but there are people in this squad – Chris Greatwich, the Younghusband brothers [James and Phil] to name a few – that started this process about ten years ago. People say it has happened in the last couple of years but it’s really been going on for a long time.
“We’ve been steadily improving and we’ve had a boom in the last couple of years. Perhaps we’ve attracted a few more higher-profile players from overseas.
“But we have really good young talent coming through as well like the Angeles twins [Marwin and Marvin], Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason de Jong. They’re only young kids and are getting good exposure at this young age playing at this level so I think the future is very bright.”
And when asked where reaching the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup ranks amongst all he has achieved in his career, the seasoned campaigner was unequivocal in his reply.
“I said to the guys before the Vietnam game that the Suzuki Cup two years ago was probably the best moment in my career,” Gier recounted.
“No one expected us to do well and, like I said, I’m getting on in my years and I’ve been fortunate to play at a good level in the UK.
“But for me this tournament just brings out emotions and feelings that you just don’t get anywhere else.
“I said to the guys before that I want to enjoy those feelings with them now. We did it two years ago and let’s do it again this year.”
Gier made his debut for Philippines against Bhutan back in April 2009 and has gone on to earn 38 caps in the last four years.