Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fair Play: Doing 9K on a really Clear Head

I consider 2006 as the year the Philippines joined the footballing world.  Though we've had decent results in the AFF Tiger Cup two years prior--earning that first point and first win--it was that year when the Philippines hosted its major international event, the qualifiers for the then AFF Championships in Bacolod. A year before, Bacolod also hosted the Southeast Asian Games, but that's a U23 event.

And guess what, we were humbled, 2-1, in the very first game at home.

But since then? We've had quite a streak. In 20 games since then, we've had 15 wins, four draws and one loss, and since that 2-1 loss to Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers--our last loss in an international game at home--we won 10 of 13 games, we hosted, drawing thrice against Malaysia and Indonesia in friendlies and in Singapore in the home leg of the Suzuki Cup.

What's even remarkable?  We only conceded seven goals at home since 2006, while scoring 49 goals and I'm not even counting the goals in that 3-0 win against Brunei. 

And after last Tuesday night's game against Turkmenistan, stretching that record isn't a stretch, especially now that you have Phil Younghusband at his usual best.  He had a "what-the-hell-were-you-thinking" moments in the game, especially that cringe-worthy miss that went a mile off target and those two unnecessary yellows, but Phil's Phil and I'm changing shampoos and I owe him 5K.

You see, before the Cambodia game, I said I was going to run one kilometer for every Azkal goal. They hit eight.  And after Phil's third goal, I said I'm going to switch to the shampoo he endorses if he scores five.

Phil’s No. 5, and 33rd international goal, came against Turkmenistan, and guys like Stephen Schrock and Javier Patino, the boy from Dumanjug, are also starting their tally sheets.

Javier’s first goal came off a play from Schrock from left flank, and the prodigious Bundesliga player found Phil, who’s lovely turn and pass connected with Patino.


Watching Schrock play for the Philippines is quite a sight.  I think those who want to try out for the team—whether based here or abroad—should be required to watch clips of his games.

That’s heart. 

One big factor in this run of success who was absent in the last game is Neil Etheridge, and he had this to say—He supports the coach’s decision not to play him and he was going to fight to win his spot back.

Now that’s the right attitude.

I'm doing the 9K in the next five days.  

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