Fair Play: The Azkals in the provinces

I SAW a picture promoting the Azkals football clinic and that reminded me of a friend’s reaction to what former CFA board member Tony Moraza said during the general assembly that was attended by both PFF president Nonong Araneta and national team manager Dan Palami.
I’m not sure who’s organizing the clinic but the poster—which shows all the members of the team, even including coach Dan Weiss—must  have the national team’s blessing.  And according to the info, it’s going to be held at the Music Hall of the SM Mall of Asia (they have a pitch there?)

During the assembly, Tony said that while the Azkals have raised the popularity of football in the country, they should do more to promote the game by visiting the rest of the country.

“The Azkals should be more visible outside of Manila,” Tony said.  And that’s from a guy whose company is moving to Manila.

My friend agreed and pointed out the teams should try to drop by places like Tarlac, Cotabato, Argao, Dumanjug and all the other places who have sons in the national teams.  These are just some of the hometowns of the members of the team, and dropping by these places would earn the team a town’s solid support.

They used to do that, before everything shot through the roof.  Before that historic win in Vietnam in 2010, the team trained in Tacloban, visited Cebu and also had a training camp in Davao.

And I think it’s about time the team does it again.  It doesn’t have to be a training camp or a friendly.

Like what Sir Moraza said that time, it’s all about the team “reaching out to fans outside of Manila.”

Of course, fans and officers in the provincial FAs can also help a lot in making trips like these--which would need money and coordination—come true by well, stop wishing for an Azkal visit and start working for one.

The team won’t have a major tournament until the Challenge Cup finals, which is in 2014 yet, and the perfect time do this feel-good trips is between now and the Challenge Cup finals.

For fans whose only connection to the team is through online interaction, getting a chance to meet the team in trips like these would be something.

I sure hope the team will consider making one.

TENNIS IN LAPU-LAPU.  It seems, the Philippine national men’s tennis team have found a home in Lapu-Lapu City, which has hosted four Davis Cup matches, the last one against Thailand.

And unlike in previous hostings, this time, Lapu-Lapu is also hosting a national age group tournament and it’s a great move because the two tournaments feature different sides of Philippine tennis; one is about kids who dream about getting to play in the Davis Cup.

And with Lapu-Lapu becoming the first choice as host of Davis Cup matches, I think the city should just take advantage and position itself as the tennis destination in the country by hosting the national age group tournament annually.  Besides, it’s a boost for its tourism, too, considering how one young tennis player is always accompanied by a parent or two.

Tennis, it seems, is more fun in Lapu-Lapu City and it should stay that way.



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