The Magic of the Azkals!

BREAKING NEWS: A few minutes from now, I would take that long (and flashy!) walk to the podium to grab with my splendid right hand the piece of paper that I worked hard for the past four years.


While the Azkals was battling it out against the Bengal Tigers last Friday night, I sent an SMS to some of my friends who may have the smallest hint of sports lovers’ blood running through their veins: OMG! Lamang tayo, 3-0. Woooooh! Stay tuned, a historic win is coming!

One of the replies I got was: Tapos? Fad much.

Oh, it completely ruined my night. Boo.


I still can't get over it! The Philippines made it to the AFC Challenge Cup for the first time evaaaaar.

Sorry but this post is not so much of the Azkals as this is more about the symbol that they represent in a basketball-mad archipelago where kids first learn to dribble a ball than to memorize the alphabets. I wrote this to show my appreciation to the passion and love expressed by most Filipinos (I wish I can say all) to our national football team.

FIFA homepage, baby - TWICE.

The Azkals is, I believe, the most talked about national foot
ball team in forums, in Facebook and in Twitter today – I cannot even count on my fingers how many times the Azkals made it to the top-trending topics on Twitter. It can be remembered that their popularity skyrocketed only after their historic 2-0 win against Vietnam and that’s just merely five months ago, just freeeeaking five months ago. In the year-end report of Sports Illustrated, their match against Vietnam made it to the “Top 10 Soccer Stories of 2010”. And if you think that’s all, the Azkals even got a worldwide exposure when they were featured in the FIFA homepage not just once but twice. Wow, that’s pretty amazing for a football team which a few years ago was tagged as the whipping boys of the region.

Fame is not fame without the controversiesand tons of it. The Azkals suddenly become the object of scrutiny. The Azkals has been criticized for having players who are half-Filipinos and half-something else. On this, I have a few words. If you’re going to bash these half-breeds because they are not are pure-blooded Filipinos, you should carry out that to other countries who simply naturalize international star players to make them their own. Indonesia’s El Loco comes to mind.

Others also make an issue *cough cough Angelica cough* of the players entering show business. Oh c’mon! Considering that they have better-paying jobs abroad, one would truly find it remarkable that the Azkals chooses to come home and wear the Philippine colors, nevermind the fact that the monthly training allowance for our atheletes is “barya-barya lang”. Now that’s showbiz offers and endorsements are mobbing the team, I hope none of us will refrain them from savoring their success, their well-deserved success.

Regardless of what others think or say towards the Azkals, I’m proud of them as all should be of their country’s representative. They have worked hard to get to where they are now. Like an askal, they are survivors and hardworkers. No matter how many fat 0’s they get, they keep on fighting.

What amazes me more is the support they’re been getting from the Filipinos. I must say that the kind of fiery support the Azkals has been getting is very strong. When the Suzuki Cup came to a close, the pessimist in me said: "you're just keeping your hopes high, Azkals’ efforts will be easily forgotten as soon as the media stops reporting them". Of course, media won’t pick this up much because they are more interested in the president’s lovelife. But the heck, I was proven wrong. Indeed, the Azkals sparked a major football revolution. And it taught me two things: 1) Homegrown stars can be as charismatic as the half-breeds and 2) Filipinos love their national team that we care enough to include them in our prayers (oh yes, I do).

The Azkals are worthy of being idolized! And Mizuno too. They were there when the Azkals were still on sh*t.

The Azkals generate so much intensity, so much passion from the Filipinos, never mind if not all understands what a red card means.
Such is the love and adoration of the Filipinos to their national football team. People who do not know any better would repudiate such love and adoration as a passing fancy, a pure fanaticism if I may. Well, to tell you, it is fanaticism but it is one of a kind.


poot said...

Next stop: World Cup Qualifier, baby.

The best of luck Azkals. Go for the kill!

Anonymous said...

So true. The Philippine Football team is really, one of a kind.

I don't know the rules of the game, much more how to PLAY the game. Ang alam ko lang, maisipa lang ang bola papasok ng net na binabantayan ng kalaban, goal na yun. Yep. At dahil nga dito, madalas, kinakantyawan ako ng mga kaibigan ko. Bakit ba sige ang cheer nang cheer ko, eh I don't know how to play daw?

What a stupid question. Mali bang mag cheer? Eh ano ngayon kung I don't know the rules and the mechanics of the game? I'm cheering for them, not because magagandang lalaki sila.. BUT because they represent our counry.. Dala nila ang bandila ng Pilipinas.. That's more than enough reason for me to cheer. I have deep respect sa team na ito. Hay.. some of my friends can be so shallow.. tsk.

Anyway, jsut came across your blog sa Ublog.. adn I decided to drop by. Ingat. :)

My Tasty Treasures
Ako si LEAH
Everyday Letters

poot said...

Thank you for dropping a comment Ate Leah. It is really appreciated. :)))

I had the same dilemma. I heard a lot saying that this support we have for our national football team is just a passing fancy. The hell with them! Can't they just support the Azkals without too much talking? Aren't they proud of our boys? It really makes me sad seeing and hearing fellow Filipinos say bad things on a team that we should all be supporting.

Basta ako, I'm just so freaking proud of them. And I'll be there to back them up, win or lose.

Robbie said...

Keri lang.

Di naman kasi ako masyadong fan ng kahit anong sports eh. Siguro I'll have to watch a game first before I get in. Pero medyo fad kasi sila ngayon eh. I'll wait after a year or two. :D

poot said...

That's good Kuya Robbie. And I salute you for that.

I am also new to the cause, I will never claim otherwise. But I always support the Philippine team (whether in the SEA Games or Asian Games) whenever they compete abroad through prayers and through blogging. There's something resolute, something uplifting in cheering for your own team. & besides, it helps them in a way.

I'm just pissed when people say that this is just pure idolatry. If they don't like the Azkals, so be it. There's no need to malign them and their supporters.

jhengpot said...

hahaha.. sabi na nga ba andito si ate leah! salamat pala sa pagdalaw mo sa blog ko...medyo kalbaryo ang pagbabasa sa post mo, hanliit! hehe.. azkals galing galing! epic cla!

Reesie said...

because they are damn good looking that's why tons of pinoys support them thus their popularity is sky-rocketing these days.. and they're good although i haven't seen them played yet. haha. but anyway, it's good to see pinoys going gaga over a sport other than basketball.

poot said...

Ganun ba Jheng? Sorry naman. Font 8 lang kasi ito. Hahaha.

poot said...

That's kinda true Ate Reesie but not really. I know a lot of girls here that follows the Azkals not because they are gwapos but because they are really freaking good and determined to win.

It feels good that Filipinos are now embracing the "beautiful game". Pero dapat di rin natin mapabayaan yung ibang sports eg. basketball.

(PS. I hope you can be able to watch their games. Meron din naman sa Youtube.)

Chyng said...

not a big fan too, honestly i dont understand the rules of the game as of now.
pero naman, lahat ng lalaki sa pamilya namin - tutok sa tv whenever may laban! =))

poot said...

I've been hearing a lot of that now Ate Chyng. Azkals' matches are slowly becoming major television (and social media) events which is good.

Allen said...

go azkals!