Saturday, March 12, 2011

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.

It’s the Azkals against Mongolia, Part 2 and no, unlike what one TV anchor said, the Philippines doesn’t have to beat the host to move on to the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in Myanmar. A draw will do.

But I know the Azkals know their fans will be watching back home, so I don’t think they’ll settle for a draw. Mongolia, too, won’t be the same side that played defensively last Feb. 9 so the Blue Wolves will take risks.

They’ll attack, probe and look for the opening.

They’ll probably thank the football gods, too, that Neil Etheridge isn’t playing.

Neil’s in England, on loan to Charlton Athletic from Fulham and his absence means veteran Eduard Sacapaño gets the No. 1 spot, while young Christopher Camcam gets promoted to No. 2.

Sacapaño is one of the unsung heroes of the Azkals, a veteran who stuck with the team all through those lean years. When Neil came along, he got relegated to second banana, something proud players who value themselves too highly can’t take.

But Ed? He’s still there. He trained and practiced hard for months for the Suzuki, despite knowing his chance of seeing action was close to nil.

Now that’s character. That’s grit.

He will need that against Blue Wolves, who’ll be playing in front of their own fans, who’ll be braving the freezing weather just to be there.

Yep, on March 15 the Azkals will be back to their usual thing—playing in another country’s homecourt.

But they are not in the usual situation. Gone are the days when only the hardcore fans you can count on one hand and the reporters you can count with the other are aware of their games.

Philippine football is changing and the Azkals need youto keep it evolving. No, not in cold Ulan Bator where zero degree is considered the warmest temperature of the day—that’s why they are holding the match at 1 p.m.—but they need you in front of the TV set on March 15.

You could be screaming nonsense or analyzing the formation, or you could even provide fashion tips. It doesn’t matter.

Work commitments, you say? Didn’t you call in with a fever because you were hung over? Class? Didn’t you skip them for a few bottles of beer?

You can come in garb, in white shirts and face paint or you can watch in your naked glory, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is your presence. Go to a bar, watch at home, have a viewing party with friends.

Or, like what Graeme Mackinnon, the guy who flew all the way from Australia to watch the Feb. 9 game, will do, watch a webstream with friends.

Be there on March 15. The Azkal country needs you.

Let’s not disappoint them.

PRAYERS. The Azkals are currently training in Japan and so far, they have survived two earthquakes.

In an ABS-CBN report, Chieffy Caligdong said they felt the tremors, while Roel Gener assured their family members and fans that they are safe.

Let’s hope the team’s situation continues that way and let’s pray for their safety and for all the victims of the massive quake.


jun said...

5-1 Azkals!

Azkal country needs you on March 15 – Sugod News Philippines said...

[...] probably thank the football gods, too, that Neil Etheridge isn’t playing.source:                    Get Shareaholic March 12 2011 [...]

rona ivane said...

HAHAHA! fashion tips jud?! DMD! ;p

sidrow_c said...

azkals last two matches in japan in sub zero environment expose the Achilles heel of the team. hope they can adjust by the time they play Mongolia on the 15th. i'm looking forward to a very exciting match. go azkalz