Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fair Play: We need more foes like Kuwait

That was one heck of a match, a roller-coaster ride played in such a frenetic pace that even if we lost against the same team that booted us out in the World Cup qualifiers last year, you couldn't help but be impressed with how the team played.

Kuwaiti's pace was unbelievable for the whole 90 minutes plus change, but what was even more impressive? We kept up with them for the whole time and the defense was patient, there were no, as some critics love to point out, long balls to ease the pressure on them.

All those camps sure helped improve the team's conditioning, they are not just road shows.

Neil Etheridge, now on loan to the Bristol Rovers until December, showed why he's such a vital cog in the team with at least four impressive saves--a full stretch dive in the early minutes, and two stops in a penalty sequence.

For me, that was the best showing of a Philippine national team I've seen, including that win against Vietnam in 2010, and the proof is that second half showing, where after barely threatening the Kuwaiti goal, we had ample shots in the first 10 minutes.

After the first half, ball possession was 63-37 for the hosts, but at full time it was down 56-44, which meant that in the second half, it was 28 percent better on our favor.  And against Kuwait, no. 112 in the world and 12th in Asia, that certainly is impressive.

"This game against Kuwait showed us where we are, but even more significantly, it has showed us where we could be,"Dan Palami wrote on Twitter after the match.

And I agree, that game showed the real potential of the Azkals once they get all the available players plus the time to train together.  And, of course, you've all seen what our Team B can do? The Peace Cup was for all the players based here.

Yes, the match showed us where we could be, and to get there we need more matches like them, perhaps next year after the Suzuki Cup?

And so our body clocks don't get whacked staying up for midnight matches, how about holding them at home?  What say you, Dan Palami?

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