Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fair Play: Pinoy Pride in the Homeless World Cup

RIA de Leon, one of the most vocal Kaholeros, posted an interesting article in football fan pages yesterday, one that is a must-read for all Pinoys, not just footie fans.

The author,  Mel Young, wrote about how the Philippines has added another dimension to the Homeless World Cup ever since joining the event.

“First, they smile all the time. Second, they are all incredibly polite. Third, their football improves each year and they try to learn from other teams. Fourth, they play football in the right spirit--trying to win by playing a great passing game of football but taking defeat in a courteous way. Fifth, Philippine fans appear in droves to support them, no matter where the Homeless World Cup is being held.”

That reminded me of the World Cup of Pool in Scotland back in 2006, when our kababayans filled the arena, bringing with them a fiesta atmosphere, to help boost Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante to the title over Team USA’s Rodney Morris and Earl Strickland.

Yep, give them a chance to root for our own squad, our kababayans abroad will come in droves to show their loyalty, and perhaps, have some fun along the way as the rest of the HWC teams are learning.

The HWC is currently being staged in Paris, and so far, the Philippines made it to the secondary stage after finishing third in Group H, trailing the Netherlands and the USA.

In the secondary stage, Team Jeepney, coached by Rudy del Rosario, beat Croatia, 8-5,but lost to Scotland, 7-2, and Poland, 10-1. They will next face Portugal and Brazil.

Though we lost to Scotland, Young wrote, “You’d never know from the noise from the stands because all you could hear was the noise coming from the enthusiastic Philippine fans. They just keep smiling and shouting and all the other teams and all the other supporters just love them. Where do they all come from? I think the Philippines must be a very close community, no matter where they are living.”

Yep, there’s a kababayan everywhere and the Azkals learned this during their numerous travels for their footie matches, finding them in hotels, airports and everywhere.

It’s a good thing that the HWC team, one of whom has been invited by Dan Palami to join the SEA Games team, is getting the same fan support.

Even Rob Gier, the defender who has been appointed the European liaison for the Azkals, posted a message of support in his Facebook page, while scores of other fans are tweeting, or posting status updates about the team.

Palami showed up, together with Alphonso Arreola, that 6’3” 18-year-old kid born to Filipino parents in France who is now part of Paris St. Germain first division team and is getting groomed to be the future No. 1 keeper of France. Yes, Arreola could be
Les Bleus no. 1, if not the Azkal’s. The future is bright for this one.

Even before the HWC 2011 started, fans here have been trying to get together a band of supporters for the team, asking for friends or friends who have friends who have friends who are in France to cheer for the team.

“They (Filipinos) easily outnumber the French home support but even more incredibly, it seems that there are more people logging onto the Homeless World Cup web site and social media connections from the Philippines compared to any other country in the world.”

But of course, we aren’t the social media capital of the world for nothing. And it’s a good thing that that is being used to help a bunch of kids raise the Philippine flag high in the Homeless World Cup.

The Azkals, the Dragon Boat team, and now the Homeless World Cup team, has become the rallying cry for the Pinoys online. I wonder what the SEA Games will bring?

Go Pinoy Pride.

KAHOLEROS MEETING. Arabella Grace Madrigal is inviting all football fans who want to join the Kaholeros for a lunch meeting at the Azkals Sports Bar and Grill on Sept. 3. The Blue-Haired fanatic will be flying in again just to attend the meeting.

So, better show up.

1 comment:

Kenneth Porio said...

FYI, Mel Young is the Scottish co-founder of the Homeless World Cup. He's really happy with the Philippine team and the Pinoy fans. And that's really an honor and a privilege.