Showing posts from March, 2011

Azkals 'prepare' for Kuwait, Spain

The Philippines may have drawn Sri Lanka in the first round but the Philippine Football Federation says the Azkals will be preparing as if they will face Kuwait.

Team Manager Dan Palami, on the other hand, has an even more serious outlook.

He wants to have the team treat Sri Lanka as if it is Spain, the reigning World Cup champion.

The Philippines drew Sri Lanka in the first round of the Fifa 2014 World Cup Asia qualifiers and if it wins, it could face Kuwait, the 12th best team in Asia, in the second round.

PFF president Mariano Araneta told Bill Velasco of Hard Ball that the Azkals “will be preparing as if they have drawn Kuwait.”

Araneta said they are not disregarding Sri Lanka, which is ranked 173 in the world, but only wants the Azkals to be as prepared as possible.

Araneta said they are also looking at having a training camp outside the Philippines to boost the squad’s readiness for the World Cup.

The first leg of the home and away series will be played on June 29 in Sri Lanka, while t…

Azkals give back

This story was published in the Mar. 29 issue of Sun.Star Cebu.

AS A way of showing empathy to the victims of natural calamities, the Philippine National Football Team will conduct relief work in areas in Leyte affected by the heavy rains for two weeks.

They will be going to Leyte on April 1.

From Roy Moore

Please check out Roy Moore's blog on his crazy week in Myanmar. Yep folks, Roy Moore is the reason we got the Tweetcast.

The link is here

Fair Play: The Tweetest day of Philippine Football

I NEVER really liked twitter because I always thought that posting “I am going to NBS,” “I am now in NBS,” I am now reading Calvin and Hobbes at NBS,” “I am laughing at Calvin and Hobbes at NBS,” “I am now closing the Calvin and Hobbes book at NBS,” seemed a tad too narcissistic.

But when the Azkals hit town I knew I had to join Twitter. So I signed up but since I realized I couldn’t limit myself to 140 characters, the account got ignored.

Then Myanmar hosted the AFC Challenge Cup and turned down requests for a live coverage (I heard, even their countrymen failed to see Myanmar’s games, live.)

But, we had our own live telecasts, thanks to the tweeted updates by Roy Moore through Craig Burrows account. When Craig left for Myanmar, he had around 30 followers. When I checked last night, he had 2,974

Roy did much of the tweeting, while Craig shot the pictures. During off games, Roy also hijacked Craig’s account while he wasn’t paying attention and started a Q and A.

For a while, I thought, “Ho…

Azkals' next mission: World Cup Qualifiers

AFTER qualifying to the Asian Football Challenge Cup main draw, the Azkals will be in for another tough grind as they embark on a new challenge—the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

This is the first time the Philippines will join the qualifiers since whimpering out without a win in the qualifying round for the 2002 World Cup.

Azkals win!

THE Philippine national team secured a spot in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup final round after routing Bangladesh, 3-0, in the Group A qualifiers in Myanmar yesterday.

The Azkals finished second in the group with five points on two draws and a win, while Palestine took the top spot after a tough 3-1 win over host Myanmar yesterday.

Fair Play: Let's all have fun, fans

IF YOU are looking for updates or my take on the Bangladesh game, I’m sorry to disappoint you, you won’t find it here.

I usually write my columns 48 hours before deadline, so I won’t give the hardworking sports editor any fits and last night’s game was just a tad too late. (I could’ve stretched the deadline and rushed a piece, but I’m afraid the sports ed would hit a homer off my head if I get 11 minutes late.)

Fair Play: Yanti Barsales: The Azkals' Super Lolo

AT 38 years old, Yanti Barsales is old enough to be the father of some of the latest batch of Azkal wannabes.

But Yanti is as sure as hell tougher than most of them. Against Myanmar, Yanti took a knock that would have ended a teen’s campaign in a tournament and had it happened here in Cebu, it could have started a riot.

Studio 23, kabarkada mong lasing doing a football show

IT’S really nice how Studio 23 has picked up football coverage—both of international games and of local matches.

But whoever thought of going ahead with a pre-match analysis of a replay deserved to be forced to watch a one-hour analysis of how paint dries and be made to watch paint dry for two-hours.

It’s stupid and the fact that they are trying to sell their “pre-match analysis” as part of the replay is stupid as hell.

Why? They did a prematch analysis on Monday despite knowing they wouldn’t be able to air the game live?

I wonder what the producer, or whatever is it that you call whoever is in charge of the commentary, told the pundits.

“Just pretend we are going live. Nobody is going to notice bitaw. And we won’t put the word 'live' in the upper right corner of the screen, so they will think we did this last Monday.”

At the start, some of the guest football experts look as if they were trying to stop from laughing at the comical set up.

If Studio 23 was so concerned about airing t…

Pinoy football's unsung heroes in Myanmar

I AM, for a couple of times this week, borrowing this space since the Azkals
are by their lonesome in Myanmar.

How could a group of 22 men, with a handful of fans, be lonely in Myanmar?

Azkals face Palestine today

THE Azkals will try to forget the disappointment of their 1-1 draw against Myanmar as they face Palestine in the second game of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup Group A qualifiers today in Rangoon.

Palestine leads the group with three points after blanking Bangladesh, 2-0, in the second game last Monday. The Philippines is tied with Myanmar with one point each. Myanmar will face Bangladesh today.

Myanmar vs. Azkals analysis

THE Azkals were clearly groping for form early in the match, resulting to a lot of confusion and miscommunication.

Was it #Azkals or was it #AZKALS?

Then, the first shot from Craig Burrows resulted to a third-minute save by Neil Etheridge, who would play a key role in the world stage later in the half.

Myanmar secures draw with Azkals

THE Azkals conceded a late goal in injury time and was held to a draw by host Myanmar in the first game of the AFC Challenge Cup Group A qualifiers.

The 1-1 draw is the third straight draw between the two squads after playing to scoreless draws in 2010 and 2007.

In the second game, Palestine blanked Bangladesh, 2-0, to vault to the top of the Group.

Palestine will next face the Philippines while Myanmar takes on Bangladesh next.

James Younghusband scored for the Azkals with a spot kick in the 74th after the Myanmar keeper roughed Yanti “Lolo” Barsales. The keeper was red carded and will sit out the next match.

Myanmar equalized off a free kick in the 93rd after a Simon Greatwich foul.

Fair Play: Bashing Nonito Donaire Jr. and football vs. basketball

POOR Nonito Donaire Jr. After vaulting to the top of the boxing world for a world-class beating he gave Fernando Montiel, he is getting a Montiel-like beating from fans for his off-ring moves.

First was his feud with a few sportswriters, which ironically, occurred after his feud with his dad got solved.

A brief history of Myanmar vs. the Philippines

WILL the Azkals get third-time lucky when they face host Myanmar today or will the fans be treated to a third goalless draw between the two squads?

The Philippines will kick off its AFC Challenge Cup Group B campaign against Myanmar today, hoping to finally win one against the host and boosts its chance of making the quarterfinal round.

But despite being the highest ranked of the three teams at No. 151, coach Hans Michael Weiss isn’t convinced the rankings will make the Philippines the favorites.

“We have to be realistic. The ranking is not a true reflection of the status of the teams. I don’t want to spoil the party, I don’t want to spoil the joy, but we just have to take it one step at a time. We are not a super football nation yet. We still have a long way to go,” Weiss told a national daily.

Fair Play: Criticizing the Azkals

IS THE honeymoon over? Is it Azkal-bashing time?

I hope not.

Why? For one game? In cold Mongolia? A home-and-away series that they eventually won and we ditch them?

No, no and no.

But do the Azkals deserve to be criticized?

Of course!

Azkals scrape through

T WASN’T pretty and the Azkals didn’t get the result they wanted but they still managed to advance to the group stage despite losing, 2-1, to Mongolia in the second leg of the Asian Football Confederation qualifiers in the National Stadium in Ulan Bator yesterday.

The Philippines advanced on aggregate, 3-2, owing to its 2-0 win in Bacolod last Feb. 9 and will face host Myanmar, Bangladesh and Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup group phase in Myanmar from March 21 to 31.

On his Twitter account alybor11, team captain Aly Borromeo was apologetic for their loss but said he is looking forward to the next round.

“Sorry Pilipinas. Very disappointed with the loss today! The match is time to look forward to the next games in Myanmar,” he tweeted.

Please support this noble project

For those who have extra football stuffs, I hope you can support this noble project by Roy Moore and Craig Burrows. I met these two outstanding folks during the eve of the Azkals vs. Mongolia game in Bacolod and I've always thought the Philippines is lucky to have these two guys working to help out our poor folks.

Here's an appeal from Roy in the Pinoyfootball facebook page:

"Hi everyone. Please help share this link with everyone. We started a team in Payatas, the largest dumpsite in Metro Manila, and are joining a tournament in April. The kids are improving each week and soon we will open a drop-in centre for street kids using football to get them off drugs and into education and to think about their futures. Have a look here:"

Click here to go to the site

Fair Play: Criminal records and pretty football faces

I’VE forgotten the name of the Mexican boxer but I’m pretty sure he has never forgotten that press conference and his encounter with Bobby Inoferio.

His face was a picture of confusion and anger when he listened to the Spanish translation of Bobby Inoferio’s standard question for boxers that usually elicit laughter.

Fair Play: Azkal country needs you on March 15

MARK that date, March 15 and leave no appointments from noon until the rest of the day.

Better yet, skip work or, if you’re the boss, let your employees take half the day off. For students, unless there’s a major exam scheduled, it’s time for an SDH—Self-declared Holiday.

Etheridge on loan

NEIL Etheridge has just been loaned to League One side Chartlon Athletic, which, according to a report, lost two goalkeepers in one game. The loan spell is until April 5, and with two goalkeepers down, will Charlton be willing to part with Neil for the March 23 to 29 AFC Challenge Cup games should the Philippines hurdle Mongolia?

This is a good move for Neil, who has been named to the Fulham bench but has yet to see action, as he will get a chance to play in League One.

Charlton is seventh in League One with 48 points in 32 matches. Complete table is here

To read the report on the loan on Charlton website, please click here

From Dan Palami

The following is a note from team manager Dan Palami. He posted the note before the team left for cold-weather training/acclimatization in Japan.

FOLLOWING the recent PSA awards, the Azkals start their Japan training this week still in high spirits. It was amazing to be recognized by great achievers in sports, and we thank Manny Pacquiao and all our other fellow awardees for their encouragement.

While most sectors have welcomed the Philippine's football renaissance, some concerns about the potential distraction of fame and celebrity for players have resulted in unfortunate controversies. I would prefer to keep silent on matters off the pitch, but some issues persist and these unwarranted doubts can’t be healthy for the team. As manager, therefore, I would like to categorically assure everyone that the coaches and I are taking all steps necessary to ensure that the Azkals always give their best. We are the first to call out any Azkal whose game is threatened by ‘distractions’ in any…

Fair Play: Thank you, Cecil Mamiit

AFTER losing an epic battle to Tatsumi Ito, Cecil Mamiit approached the net to shake the hands of his Japanese conqueror.

He took a quick glance at the crowd, paused, shrugged his shoulders then tapped his heart, twice.

He seemed almost apologetic, as if he was afraid the crowd would demand refunds because he lost.

The standing ovation he got proved that notion was incorrect.

Fair Play: Meeting CCSC's eight lanes, again

This column came out in the March 5, 2011 issue of Sun.Star Cebu.

AS A sportswriter, I consider myself a regular at the Cebu City Sports Center, having covered so many meets and sporting events at CCSC.

But I don’t think I would have seen CCSC for what it really is had I not spent time the past few weeks trying to burn 16 years of inactivity.