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.

The commentator, so used to seeing a Philippine team (even the improved one four years ago), get clobbered in the major football competition of Asean, was expecting another rout.

“Aleksander Duric and Mohd Noh Alam Shah will be trying to get the first goal as quickly as possible.”

But the present squad playing in Vietnam is not the Philippine team of old. Heck, we haven’t seen that ‘old senior squad,’ the one content to not lose, in over six years
“What a lovely ball….that should have been the first goal!”

I don’t really know when this surge started but I started noticing a difference with the Philippine team in 2004, when the tournament was still known as the Tiger Cup.

Before that, teams who take on the Philippines know it’s their chance to improve their goal difference. And that they did, since 1996, and for years, the team’s mindset has been not to win, but not to lose by much.

But in 2004 it was different.

“The Philippines….thought of going for goal and once again it’s a good strike!!! Had a lot of venom behind it…”

The boys were on the verge of earning a point against Myanmar before it conceded a very late goal, 1-0, in their first game. They got hammered by Malaysia, 4-1, in the next with Cebuano goalie Michael Casas saving a penalty before ending their winless streak in the international arena with a 2-1 win over Timor Leste.

Thailand was next and for the first time since I learned my “ABCs” the Philippines scored first. I still remember that moment, clearly.

Emilio Caligdong struck from left, shocking Thailand with a 26th-minute goal. We were shouting so wildly we didn’t hear the commentator, who was probably more than shocked, as we were. Of course, Thailand, being Thailand, scored thrice to win the game.

For me, the 2006 tournament was the best for it showed the new character of the Philippine team.

After losing to Malaysia (4-0), and Thailand (4-0) in their first two games, the Philippines was to face Myanmar, who was probably looking forward to a semifinal appearance since a win would get them there.

The Philippines, playing for only its pride, held on and fought to a scoreless draw, denying Myanmar a final four spot and giving it to Malaysia.

But things, of course, didn’t go all too well after that. We stumbled again, failing to qualify in 2008 and I thought the country was back to being whipping boys as the new PFF president...

Singapore…tries again…Duricc!!! FINALLY!! We have the first goal here.”

However, the Azkals, as fans has taken to calling the team in 2006, are resilient. They bounce back. They never give up.

A chance to make it TWO-NILLLL….HOW did that ball stay OUTT? They had a couple of chances there where they could have taken a strike at goal.”

Thanks to a man named Dan Palami, RP football is on the rise again. Palami, the Leyte FA president, has found the perfect solution to solve the RP team’s woes. If the PFF problems are destroying football, then what’s the best way to isolate the RP team? To remove the PFF from the RP team.

That’s right. For two years now, Palami has been shouldering the training of the RP team. The PFF has no say and it’s part of the condition when Mari Martinez (Well, I guess, he did one thing right) asked him to manage the team.
The result?

“It’s a moment for Singapore to try to keep the lead….

“Younghusband….and THE EQUALIZER!!! The Philippines have DONE it!!! These players are going absolutely crazy here. It’s Christopher Greatwitch, much to the delight of his teammates as well as some Vietnamese fans. Look at them celebrate. They’re going crazy here, in Hanoi.

Against the odds here, in the beginning of this game. Philippines has struck a late, late, very late equalizer.”


Tito said…
i read it once, twice, trice... i keep getting goosebumps. nice one, Mike!

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