I was really thinking on what topic to write, but with all the football mania in the Philippines, I guess this will be it.

 

If you’re  in the Philippines right now, you will be amazed on the media coverage of the Philippine National Football Team more popularly known as the Azkals. Philippines has always been a basketball or boxing country but never a football lover. There may be some Filipinos who are football players and fans but they are so few compared to those basketball or boxing fans.  I used to follow basketball, from the players to their teams to their coaches when I was in high school. I have these magazines about my favorite players and I remembered writing a fan letter to my uber favorite player (that’s how I’m a super fan girl before).  I used to be a Chicago Bulls fan especially during the era of Michael Jordan then I was converted into being a Dallas Mavericks thanks to Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash when they were still a team. I was never a Laker fan even when Shaq was still playing with them. But as the years go by,  my love for basketball diminishes. I don’t follow religiously the conferences anymore and I don’t watch even championship matches. Then from a basketball, I became a boxing fan. My father was really a boxing fan. Before I just don’t get it when he watches boxing fights. I just know Mike Tyson and Mohammad Ali.  But because of Manny Pacquaio, I became a sort of boxing fan. The whole Philippines stop when Manny Pacquaio (a boxing superstar) has a fight, even those  rebels and soldiers :); that’s how big boxing is in the country and how Manny changes and affects people, because he fights for national pride and maybe that’s why the Azkals right now are being admired and revered by Filipinos.

As a national team, Azkals are carrying with them the Philippine pride. The national football team  didn’t really won a big win in any games they joined. But this was changed because  of the new Azkals, the new football team. Even when the whole world is into football, the country was never into it. But last year, the boys changed the sports field in the Philippines by winning in some tournaments that the Philippine National Football team  never won or advances in any match. The inclusion of the Filipino-Foreigners, guys who was born with a Filipino mother or father paved the way for the football team’s success.  It’s good to see some half-Pinoys/Brits/Dutch/American/Spanish playing for the national team  even though some of them have their own clubs. But I guess, it is a nice feeling when you a are member of a national team that is winning.

Azkals really introduced football to a greater number of Filipinos. I for one called it soccer (maybe influenced by the Americans) and never call it football until the Azkals came. I’m just an occasional sport fan, I got a little know how of some sports but not a die hard one. Sometimes I get jealous of those playing in world cup, when nationalities fight for their team and their country— singing, chanting and just doing anything. I have read about this athlete last year when he announced that he has a son, I just shrugged it off because I don’t know him and I don’t care if he has a son :D. But because I’ve been searching about football because of the Azkals influences, I found out that I just wanna jump of the bridge after learning the athlete who fathered a son was no other than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 (the highest paid football player in history)—my favorite football player now. After my short period of  researching anything about football, I stumbled upon CR7 and totally love him. His skills are great well plus his looks (hey I’m just a fan girl :D). And I also heard on the news about the world cup player who was distracted by his sportscaster girlfriend, I don’t know him before but now I know not just his name but his greatness and being a good goal keeper, I’m talking about Iker Casillas. In our dialect, his family name is equivalent to the toilet, oops. I was laughing before when I first heard his name. Thanks to Azkals, Filipino like me will know something about football and not just  basketball and boxing.

 

 

I just hope that they will still improve as team, and if there are half-Pinoys and pure breed Pinoys who are willing to join the national team then let them do the try outs. The team needs all the help they can get.  Even it’s wishful thinking that they can qualify for the World Cup, but at this moment, I think, this is a small step for the Azkals but already a giant leap for the football awareness in the Philippines.

To all the members of the Azkals, from the players, coach and managing staff CONGRATULATIONS and hope that you will win more in your upcoming matches. Mabuhay Azkals! Mabuhay Team Pilipinas! Ahoo! Ahoo!

The Philippine Azkals