Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fair Play: A picture and the future of PHL football

The picture, taken by Anton Sheker, captures it all--the emotion, disappointment, all the what-ifs.

Anton, who travels with the national team, wrote that the photo kept haunting him that night and brought him to tears.

It was a photo of team captain Rob Gier, all alone in the team bench.  The no. 2, sat on the second seat, elbows on his knees and his face planted between both hands, just staring forward. 

I really like Rob Gier, I think he's one of the best choices for a team captain in the squad, having been in the team before every one has heard of the Azkals and I think that picture shows how much emotion these players invest in the team, in the game and for the Philippines.

These guys aren't like some of the international players who, when their stint for their country ends in a harrowing, defeat, can take comfort in their high-paying club careers. 

Gier, and the Azkals, like I said, get what playing for the country means, and that's why I'm confident we'll get there, someday.

When the pure Filipino debate was raging, Rob, I think captured it best when he said, ""I don’t understand when people ask us how ‘Filipino’ we feel.The blood that runs through us runs through our “homegrown” teammates. Just because we were born in another place or grew up in a different country doesn’t make us less Filipino. We feel Filipino every second of our lives." 

The captain also tweeted after the game, "Totally devasted tonight, I think this will take a while to get over. (I'm) proud of every member of this team, sorry we couldn't give you more."

It's been four days after that night, I think it's safe to assume that like Rob, most of the fans still haven't gotten over that loss, that's why Anton's haunting photo of Rob struck a nerve.

But, I assure you, we'll get there. Someday.  

I've been writing about the national team for over a decade now and we've never had it this good, until now.  So, we'll get there.

LITTLE AZKALS.  By the way, now that the senior team is off the grid in the next few weeks, I hope the Philippine Football Federation will pay attention to some of the concerns raised regarding the PHL's U14 team's campaign.

I learned through the Usapang Football forum that until now, the parents of the players still have a hard time paying for the P80,000 airfare for their trip to Italy last year and that whenever the team has a camp, it’s the parents that shoulder the food, accommodation and travel expenses.

I hope it’s not true and if it is, I hope the PFF puts an end to it.  That should not be the case, parents shouldn’t be shouldering the players’ expenses for the national team because that could mean one thing—only those who have money can be with the team.

The U14, as some in the senior team management are saying, is the future of Philippine football.  

But, it seems, the PFF can’t pay for our football future?

Our U14 needs all the help and I hope the PFF addresses these concerns, immediately.

This is for our future.


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