Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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?

That is if there’s no live telecast of the matches, which was the case last Monday.

And which will be the case tomorrow and Friday.

Somehow the wicked me thought, “Perhaps the generals are PBA fans?” But no, that won’t help.

Despite the absence of TV coverage, Pinoy fans were still following the game since Azkals fans are creative and passionate. You had to be if you spent 90 minutes last Monday, waiting for a “0-0” score in a website that streamed live scores (scores, mind you, not videos or commentaries) to change and looking for updates on Twitter.

That’s why Pinoy fans owe a lot to Craig Burrows and Roy Moore, the two-man coverage team of

Sure, a lot of reporters were tweeting, too, but they were paid to be there. Craig and Roy? They paid their way to be there and are essentially, media volunteers who want to keep the fans informed through because ironically, in this Global Age, there’s a better chance of me seeing Maria Sharapova in her birthday suit than
seeing the Myanmar games, live.

I first met Craig and Roy on Feb. 8, when we held the “sugat” for the Mongolia game by downing not-so-few beers with NSV, Joel Pascual, Graeme Mackinnon, Jacques Palami and a few other fans.

Apart from me, Graeme, Noel, Joel and Ruel Rosello, the rest of the guys met each other for the first time, yet there was never a dull moment. Even Ruel, our photographer, found a kindred soul in a fellow photo enthusiast. The conversation was so animated hours later that I resigned myself to spending the night on the chair as I didn’t sleep a wink the night before.

From that session, I realized the two British guys were Pinoy fans before they became Pinoy football fans. It was evident when Roy asked if Pinoys would be offended if he will bring a St. George flag to the venue. It was also evident in how the two have “walked the talk” by working with the underprivileged Filipinos.

A few days after that game, Craig and Roy established a football club in the neglected area of Payatas and no, they are not hoping to discover the next Phil Younghusband, they just want to give poor Pinoys a chance at a better life through football and an education.

These days, they are making the lives of Pinoy football fans better by providing timely updates from Myanmar.

That’s why they’re my heroes.

No comments: