Showing posts from December, 2010

The things I want to see in 2011

1.) National tournaments for the age group. The U16s and U19s nationals were the feeders for the national youth teams. I hope the new PFF admin pushes through with their promise of bringing them back.

We need a comprehensive youth system to sustain Philippine football and it is something the weakest team in the Asean region, East Timor, is investing on.

Consider this, in the AFC U16 championships, only three teams from Southeast Asian made the main draw, Vietnam, Indonesia and East Timor. The Philippines finished last in the Group E qualifiers, conceding 26 goals in four losses. East Timor trailed China in Group F on goal difference, 29 to 22.

Azkals get Fair Play award

The AFF Suzuki Cup gave the Fair Play Award to the Philippine team. The team that has the least number of cards in the tournament gets the award. Check out stats in bottom right corner of this page

Azkals: Achievers of the Year

Here's a nice article from Sun.Star network columnist Al S. Mendoza on the the Azkals, who for him, are the Achievers of the Year.

I fully agree

To read article, click here

Fair Play: Martinez vs. Philippine football

THE newfound love the Filipinos have for the Azkals has led to a raised awareness of the sport, which, in turn, led to the PHL vs. Indonesia game out-rating the PBA games on TV.

It has also, expectedly, led to fans being overly-protective of the team and any proposal to change the composition of the squad is greeted by petitions or immediately shot down.

Pinoy Pride and the Azkals

I'VE always believed, give Pinoys something to cheer about and they'd do it gladly.

That is what is happening with the Philippine football team, the Azkals. Pinoys who can't tell an offside trap from a mousetrap are suddenly football fans.

They are watching football because their pride in themselves have been stoked by a bunch of guys who don't give up.

Here's one story of a convert. It's in tagalog, but I tell you, it's worth reading.

Click here to read story.

ABS CBN: Martinez, Hammam lash at Fifa

From ABS CBN, this Christmas spoiler: To read report in ABS CBN website, click here

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Jose Mari Martinez struck back at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for favoring his ouster from his post.

In a letter addressed to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, Martinez said the world’s football governing body has came out with a one sided decision regarding the dispute embroiling the PFF leadership.

“I absolutely cannot accept your one sided, unfair and unjust decision which reeks of impartiality. Your decision was/is based on loose and questionable evidence,” the embattled PFF official said in his letter.

FIFA, , also known as the International Federation of Association Football, earlier acknowledged the removal of Martinez from PFF presidency, citing that the move was made according to PFF statutes.

Christmas spoiler: Martinez, Hammam team up to question Fifa order?

Sorry to spoil our christmas folks, but this is something that needs our attention.

It seems deposed PFF president Mari Martinez will fight for his 90-day extension and has teamed up with AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam in questioning the Fifa order affirming Nonong Araneta's election.

Columnist Ronnie Nathanielsz posted in his twitter account that Martinez will question the Fifa order in the Committee for Arbitration in Sports and Hammam will support him.

Martinez and Hammam wants Fifa to respect the status qou, and that is for Martinez to keep his post and
for the PFF to hold elections in 90 days.

I hope Ronnie got it wrong. But Hammam supporting Martinez is quite expected. Hammam being the guy who gave Martinez P10 million last year. Where it went, only Martinez knows.

You know what? I'm mighty sick of Martinez and Hammam and I think they are partners in crime. I also think
both are using the AFC Vision Asia Philippines project to enrich themselves.

Why? Well, even the new presid…

Azkals in Sports Illustrated top 10 football stories for 2010

IN YET another milestone, the Philippine Azkals made it in a prestigious American sports magazine’s list of the world’s top 10 football stories in 2010.

The Sports Illustrated magazine picked the surge of the Philippine Football team’s 2-0 upset of defending Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup champ Vietnam as No. 10 in the list.

“The Asean Football Federation’s biennial Suzuki Cup might not be too high up on your list of priorities, but this year’s tournament produced arguably the biggest upset in its history,” SI’s Georgina Turner wrote on its website on Dec. 22.

A question for Cebu football

Here's an interesting sidelight to what the Azkal has done and it's a prickly topic for Cebu football.

The political rift in Cebu football has played a role in the low number of entries in the Aboitiz Football Cup Men's league.

The champion in this division gets to represent Cebu in the national tournament, which were scrapped during Mari Martinez's term.

Now that Nonong Araneta wants to hold them again, next year, he is also planning to use them to scout players for the senior team.

Will those who skipped the Aboitiz League miss the chance, too?

For next year, Araneta also plans to revive the Under-19 nationals, then known as the Adidas Under-19. But, and this is a big boost for our college players, he wants to make it a national Under-23 competion so the PFF can scout players for the Southeast Asian Games.

There is no 23-Under competition in the Aboitiz League and the CFA may hold a tournament or it may just hold a tryout for the CFA team.

I hope, if the CFA holds a tryout …

Fifa to conduct audit on PFF

PFF president Nonong Araneta told ANC Fifa will conduct an audit of the funds the international body sent to the Philippines for the past years.

The previous president, Mari Martinez, was ousted for his mishandling of P2.8 million, a fraction of what the PFF received from Fifa last year. During the World Cup, Fifa announced each national FA will receive $200,000 on top of its annual aid of $250,000.

Araneta said he welcomes the audit and upon ribbing from the ANC host, promised that next year's Fifa aid will go to where it is supposed to go.

Araneta also said the Azkals will be re-joining the Southeast Asian Games, an Under 23 competition, after skipping the 2007, and 2009 editions.

And on a positive note, when asked if there will be changes in the team's lineup or coach, the president, unlike the previous president, said "it will be all up to Dan Palami."

I learned Indonesia will hold international tryouts for its Under 23 squad and it is also in the process of "…

Fifa recognizes Araneta, upholds Martinez's ouster

Martinez, you're out.

Araneta is in.

Click link to read Fifa letter in full


Talking football

It's no secret that I've always admired Al Mendoza, the writer who exposed age-cheating by the Philippines in the Little League World Series back in 1991.

For the past two years, he's been writing "All Write" for the Sun.Star network of community papers.

And today, he wrote about the Azkals.

Here's his article:

Another writer I follow, Recah Trinidad, also wrote about the Azkals today and had an even scathing words for our country's devotion to basketball, "After the false gods have been exposed, now is the time to move away from the fancy, shallow doggone world of basketball—Asong Ulols—into the true win-win football path of the loveable Azkals."

To read Recah's article, click this.

10 things we can do to help Philippine football

This is a list a came up with post AFF Suzuki Cup. That I made the list doesn't mean I have
done all things. But of course, I'm planning to do them all. Of course, you can add to them if you like.

1.) BUY THE PHILIPPINE JERSEY. Mizuno gambled by supporting the Philippine team. Let's pay them back.

2.) SUPPORT FULHAM FC. Follow their games on TV or follow their progress on the net. I don't know about you, but I've been a loyal Man U and Real Madrid fan for years, for the simple reason that it's their matches we see a lot on TV. But all this loyalty to these clubs really don't get us anywhere, does it? As to Fulham? Well, it's Neil Etheridge's club. (Enough said)

3.) SUPPORT LOCAL FOOTBALL. The Fil-foreigners said it themselves. They wouldn't be there if not for the local players. Support local football. How? It's simple. Watch the games. We won't be cheering for the Younghusbands, Etheridges, del Rosarios, if not for the Aranetas, Barsaleses,…

Fair Play: I believe. You believe. We believe

IT’S been quite a journey hasn’t it?

The past few weeks have been heaven for sports fans—not just football fans.

Finally, the country is taking notice.

Finally, the country is talking football.

And the rest of Southeast Asia is talking about the Philippines talking football, finally.

They’re taking notice.

For fans who’ve been with the team since the start, it’s a welcome change.

For fans who are just getting in on the action, welcome to the club.

And no, don’t worry newbies, when you started cheering for the team is not important, that you are doing that is what matters.

There are no bandwagon fans, just fans, period.

I’ve always said give Pinoys something to cheer about and they’d gladly do it, wildly.
Some folks are still in disbelief, it’s almost too good to be true.

But it is. It’s true. It’s not a dream, what you see, hear and read is real.

I remember the only time Philippine football made CNN World Sports’ Play of the Day—on a lazy Monday afternoon on Jan. 15, 2007. CNN sports picked a wond…

Fair Play: Facebooking the Azkals

I WAS taking notes of the Azkals vs. Indonesia game for a story and I tried to be as impartial as possible.

It lasted about one minute.

The last time I tried to do that—in Bacolod 2007—I lasted a bit longer. Try imagining screaming at the top of your lungs while taking notes. You can’t. So one thing has to give way.

News: McMenemy lauds Azkals despite loss


Jakarta: Despite watching his side suffer their first defeat in this year's AFF Suzuki Cup with a 1-0 loss to Indonesia on Thursday Philippines coach Simon McMenemy still felt that his players were fully deserving of praise for their brave performance in front of an intimidating crowd at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

For McMenemy, the experience of coaching in front of a large and passionate crowd of 70,000 in Jakarta was an experience that he is unlikely to soon forget.

I believe

IT was a frustrating journey wasn’t it?

To feel alone in your love for a sport that seem destined for the doldrums.

You questioned yourself after yet another failure.

“Is it worth it?” You asked, after yet another heartache.

That does it! You screamed, after yet another fuck up.

So you left.

Make Martinez accountable

WITH all the attention the Azkals are getting, questions are, inevitably, being asked on how the Philippine Football Federation is being run.

Mari Martinez, who's conjuring fairy tale after fairy tale, including one where he claims the recruiting of Fil-Foreigners was his idea (sorry, I couldn't find the link), will have to answer a lot of questions.

Mari wants to hold on the PFF presidency for 90 days more but someone told me that he's doing that because the next Fifa aid--some P10 million--will be released.

I'm never a fan of senate inquiries, but what the heck, if it's the right venue where we can fry Mari (and of course, in the spirit of fair play, he can defend himself if he can). Then so be it.

Let Mari be held accountable for the Fifa funds--$250,000 and $200,000--this year alone. And also for the AFC and AFF doleouts. That's for 2010. He's been in office for three years.

Mari, like I said in a blog.
And the time is now.

Prisaa pics batch 3

Third batch of pics.

More Prisaa pics

Batch 2 of the Prisaa pics courtesy of Dr. Joel Pascual

Prisaa in fotos

Here are a few pics of the Prisaa football games, dominated by the Cebu City selection of Coach Glenn Ramos

All pics from Dr. JP.

Fair Play: Remove the disease in Philippine football

FOR THOSE who were surprised why Mari Martinez’s name was never mentioned in my first column after the Azkals made the AFF Suzuki Cup semis, wonder not.

No, I have not forgotten the guy. Besides he’s irrelevant when it comes to the senior team and I thought it was blasphemous to put his name next to those of the RP team manager, coach and players.

Report: Revamp the Azkals?

To read story in Sun.Star, click here

ALTHOUGH the RP Men’s national football squad has brought glory to the country by reaching the semifinals in the ongoing AFF Suzuki Cup, ousted Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Jose Mari Martinez has plans to build a “different but better squad.”

Martinez, who was ousted in the congress last Nov. 27 but is still backed by Fifa, reportedly wants to virtually change the whole RP team starting from British coach Simon McEnemy to the rest of its roster.

Playback: The April Fool's joke that pissed off Mari

Digging up my archives, I found an old article that started the rift between and Mari Martinez. It also led to then his abandoned plan of ordering the PFF marketing arm to search for a suitable moniker for the RP Team than the Azkals.

I posted this in the forums of, but the admin posted it in the news section, which in turn, got posted in the then official website of the PFF. Both sites are as dead as Martinez's career.

Here's the story:"PFF President Martinez resigns, Azkals get new kits!!"

Philippine Football Federation president Mari Martinez has stepped down from his post, just less than six months after winning a hotly-contested election against Ed Formoso and will start a new job with FIFA.

Martinez, 53, is expected to announce his formal resignation today.

“It is with deep trepidation that I tender my resignation as the president of this wonderful organization. The previous four months have been a wonderful ride,” said a prepared sta…

Fair Play: The kid who helped save PHL football

SO, have you found the kid?” I asked James Younghusband during his last visit to Cebu back in 2008.

James, who was on his way to Boljoon with Chad Gould, had a wry smile and said, “Nope, we still haven’t.”

Two years before that, in 2006, I threw the question at Phil during his first visit to Cebu.

“I still have no idea who he is.”

Homeless heroes: Azkals lose home game

IF PLANS don’t go awry, the Azkals will return to the site of their biggest win ever for yet another all-important match.

The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) told ABS-CBN that it has accepted Vietnam’s offer to host the “home” game of the Philippines against Indonesia in the two-leg semifinals of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

Breaking news: Vietnam to host RP vs. Indonesia

PFF president Mariano Araneta told ABS CBN news that they have accepted Vietnam's offer to host the Philippines vs. Indonesia match.

Read full report here

Local coaches praise Azkals

To read Sun.Star story, click here

LOCAL football coaches and personalities are praising the Philippine national team for its impressive run in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

“So far it’s the best record for the Philippines since the late 90’s,” Cebu Football Association president Richard Montayre told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday in an interview.

Report: Martinez turns down RP hosting right

This is just plain stupid.

By this, I mean this report by the Philippine Star regarding PFF president Mari Martinez's giving up the country's hosting right of the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals. Read this

He said he will play hard to get, so what if the AFF will not give in to his demand of a 50/50 split? Will he say "OK, we'll have the semifinals at home nalang."

He thinks he holds the trump card? He already gave away his trump card.

Why does he expect to have a share of the gate receipts in the second match, when Indonesia has the right to host a second match?
He said: "No matter what people say, I must have done something good during my administration for our national team to show this result. Our FIFA world ranking is going up. Playing in the Suzuki Cup semifinals is a great experience for our team. It’s good for the Philippines. I just hope people will now see the commercial value of football as a sport.”

This is just plain thick. The team is successful because o…

POC slams AFF move

PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Monico Puentevella yesterday said like the Philippine football team and the fans, he deplore the decision made by the Asean Football Federation (AFF) barring the Philippines from hosting the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Bacolod.

The POC head, who is in Oman for the Asian Beach Games, said the AFF has made the judgment without consulting the national team management or even inspected the facilities.

Here's an interesting video

Hi guys, please check this video. I think it's quite a good song.

Azkal! Azkal! Azkal Ako!!!

Azkal ako, Pilipino!!!

Panaad meeting

The folks at Panaad are meeting with the Bacolod City officials for the hosting issue. Will post update once I get it

Panaad gets silent treatment

I talked with Panaad's Ian de Ramos and he said until now, there has been no contact from the PFF or AFF regarding Panaad Stadium's condition.

He was suprised to hear that the AFF and PFF have issued a statement already.

What they did today, upon reading the stadium could be a venue for the semifinals from the papers, was to make initial preparations for the field. He admitted there were some bald areas in the field, but so did that Indonesia stadium, right?

Panaad will host the Provincial Meet on Dec. 13 to 19 and the Prisaa Regional Meet after that. But he said there will be no problems hosting the AFF match because it will be held at night.

The hosting debacle

I find it quite hard to fathom the PFF won't fight for its hosting rights in the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals.

The Panaad stadium is not up to standards? That stadium hosted the AFF Championships Qualifiers in 2006 and the Southeast Asian Games.

I wonder if the PFF reason this time is the same that was given to me back in 2001 when I asked why we surrendered our rights to host two World Cup qualifiers.

Here's my story then: (this is the unedited version)

“ITS too expensive”

This was the explanation given by Philippine Football Federation’s World Cup 2002 qualifier campaign deputy Domega Geramidi as to why the country will host only one group stage game instead of three.

What!!?? No home game for Azkals!!!

The Philippines will not be able to play a leg of their semi-final or subsequent final at a home venue due to no available stadia in the country meeting the requirements for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Asean Football Federation took the decision after careful consideration and talks with the relevant parties.

A set of guidelines has to be met before a stadium can stage an AFF Suzuki Cup match and none of the proposed venues in the Philippines reached the required standard stipulated in the Hosting Obligations for the tournament.

The Philippines Football Federation agrees they will be allowed to choose to play one leg of their semi-final at a neutral venue or both legs in the country of their opposition.

The Asean Football Federation would like to congratulate the Philippines for reaching the last four of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time and wish them good luck in the semi-finals.

Azkals make AFF Suzuki Cup semis

They did it.

It wasn't pretty and the Azkals certainly had lots of chances but it the end, a 0-0 draw was all they could manage.

It was a tough draw, judging from how the defense scrambled to stop the wave upon wave of Myanmar attack.

It was an avoidable draw, judging from how Philip Younghusband had a clear chance and Ian Araneta, that workhorse who scored three goals against Timor Leste in the qualifiers, missed at least five clear chances.

Araneta will have to answer a lot of "what ifs" for the rest of his life.

It was a draw nonetheless. A draw that earned our first semifinal spot in the AFF Suzuki Cup against the dangerous Indonesia

Can we beat the Indonesians?

Well, can you dream?

Once again: the Azkals and the RP team

THE recent popularity for the Philippine team has also led a surge to the question: Why call the RP team the Azkals?

Some simply want to know the history, while some question how a few group of fans get the right to name the Philippine team.

Some hate it, some love it. Some question the process of how it became the “official name” for the RP team.
Why Azkals and should we stick with it?

In 2007, the first time the Azkals name got threatened by those who didn’t like it, I said the reason we should stick with it was simple. It was the same reason I cited in 2008, when PFF president Mari Martinez ordered his marketing arm (the missing marketing arm?) to look for a new name for the RP team because he didn’t like the Azkals. Mari reasoned out, he never read the word in the national papers. (Mari, it seems, only reads football reports in the national papers when he pays for it.)

Why Azkals? Well in 2005, for a group of football fanatics, the name struck a chord. It symbolized Philippine football…

Breaking news: RP vs. Myanmar on Studio 23, live

ABS CBN just announced over TV Patrol that the Myanmar vs. Philippine match will be aired live on Studio 23. This is the first time a live PHL football game will be aired on Free TV.

See you!!!

Coaches on Azkals' win over Vietnam

WHILE the coaches in Group A are lauding the Filipinos' stunning win over Vietnam, the home side's Portuguese coach is still at it again.

Talking about tonight's game against Singapore, reported

Azkals face Myanmar today

AFTER making history in its first two matches, surprise Group B leaders Philippines will try to make another when it takes on Myanmar in its final assignment in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup in Vietnam at 8:30 tonight.

The Philippines leads Group B with four points and only needs a draw against Myanmar, which is already eliminated, to advance to the semis—the first time the Philippines will be in the final four of the 16-year-old competition.

Philippine vs. Myanmar on TV

Hello peeps. Here's an important reminder. The Philippines vs. Myanmar game will be aired live on ESPN at 8:30, not Star Sports, which will air the Vietnam vs. Singapore game.

For those who can't access ESPN there's a live stream icon in the website

The story of Azkals and the RP team

CES Drilon, (and I'm sure almost anyone else who's hearing the name for the first time) is asking why the RP team is called the Azkals. Here's a story by Noel S. Villaflor from the defunct website.--Mike

WHO ELSE but Filipino fans can think of naming a national football team from an animal as ubiquitous as a street dog?

The Azkals is short for “asong kalye,” Tagalog for street dog, that resilient mongrel found in most Filipino homes. (Yes, a street dog with a home. An askal without a home either ends up in the pound or the cauldron.)

Still, it is a mystery to some how the team, which is gunning for the top spot at the AFC Challenge Cup here, got such a name.

Azkals on ANC, TV Patrol and GMA news!!!

NEVER in my wildest dreams did I ever expect the Philippine national football team to be a part of primetime news on TV.

It used to be that football gets included in the national TV telecast only if its about riots overseas, stampedes, stadium collapses or that requisite what-do-Pinoy-football-fans-do-during-the-World Cup.

Now, the Philippine team, the Azkals, are all over the news.

Heck, just a few hours ago, I watched them on ANC getting interviewed through a webcam.

Dan Palami, the architect of the team’s success, said it best after the game against Vietnam:

“This is the new era of Philippine football.”

Thanks to Dan Palami, Simon McMenemy, co-captains Ali Borromeo, Chieffy Caligdog, Phil and James Younghusband, brave Neil Etheridge and all the members of the RP team, the coaching staff, medical staff, drivers, practice players.

Thanks to everybody.

You made this all possible.

Fair Play: RP football in four minutes

FOR the past few days, I’ve been watching a four-minute, two-second video clip, over and over again.

It’s not a music video or a funny video, but it’s the highlight of the Philippines vs. Singapore match in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Breaking news: RP scores greatest upset in AFF history

IN what is billed as the greatest upset in Asean football history, the Philippines shocked defending champion Vietnam, 2-0, in front of their jampacked crowd at the My Dinh National Stadium in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

The Philippines, which lost to Vietnam in their last encounter back in 2002, now leads Group B on goal difference. RP has four points with a win and a draw. Singapore, which scored a last-minute goal to beat Myanmar, is second with four points but has conceded two goals to RP’s one.

Vietnam, which seemed headed for a sure semis seat after a 7-1 win over Myanmar, is third and must beat Singapore in its last game to make the semis.

The Philippines will take on Myanmar on Wednesday and only needs a draw to advance to the semis for the first time.

Vietnam dominated ball possession and had the advantage in shots on goal almost four to one.

But it was the Philippines who had the clearest opportunity. Ian Araneta’s header and followup hit the side netting and in the 38th Chris Greatwich…

Philippines takes on Vietnam at 8:30 p.m. tonight!

Go call your friends folks. Tell everybody to drop what ever they are doing. It's Philippines vs. Vietnam.
The dispatch from the AFF, thanks to Cedelf Tupas and Manolo Pedralvez, says the game will be at 8:30 p.m. tonight. It will be on Star Sports.
So gather up!

Here's the advancer for today's game. (Again, thanks to Cedelf and Manolo)

BOOSTED by its 1-all draw last Thursday against favored Singapore, the Philippines faces it toughest test yet when it takes on defending champion Vietnam in the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup at the My Dinh National Stadium today.

Once again, the Filipinos will be the heavy underdogs when they face the host Vietnamese, who crushed Myanmar, 7-1, also last Thursday, when the two sides collide at 8:30 p.m.

Fair Play: Don't cross the street when Azkals play

I ALMOST got run over by a car last Thursday night.

It would have been a tragicomedy had I met an accident because my head wasn’t seeing what my eyes were seeing as I crossed the street.

AFF Suzuki Cup: RP surprises Singapore, 1-1

Chris Greatwich claimed a spectacular injury time equaliser to earn the Philippines a surprise but well-deserved 1-1 draw with three-time champions Singapore in Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium in group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Thursday evening.
From the AFFsuzukicup Website:

The England-born midfielder popped up to push home James Younghusband's late cross to earn the Philippines a rare point in the final stages of the competition.

Aleksandar Duric looked like he had done enough to earn Singapore the win with his goal in the 65th minute but Greatwich scored with one of the last kicks of the game to earn the Philippines a point their play throughout the 90 minutes had deserved.

Singapore struggled to impose themselves against a tricky opponent who refused to roll over and the Filipinos left the field with their reputation enhanced after qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup finals for the first time since 2007.

For full story, click here