The Philippine Azkals in Football
The Philippines is not really a football country. The country lacks the necessary infrastructure for this particular sport. Understandably, it is not ready and well-equipped to develop it's football athletes. But this fact did not stop the Philippine national football team, the Azkals from becoming what they are today. The team surprised many of their Asian counterparts in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2010.
Last week, the Azkals' campaign to enter the finals in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 ended when it lost to Indonesia at 2-0. The cup is a biennial football competition by different national football teams in southeast Asia. The Philippines Azkals team is considered the surprise package in the Cup as it made possible the country's entrance to the semifinals after a 14-year drought in the tournament's history. The team played with all their might and heart. No wonder even the Indonesian team's coach considered the Azkals defense as one of the toughest.
The Philippine Azkals line-up for the Suzuki Cup Semis is composed of Phil Younghusband (forwards), Ian Araneta, James Younghusband, Jason De Jong, Emilio Caligdong, and Christopher Geatwich man the midfield, while the back 4 features Rob Gier, Anton del Rosario, Ray Anthony Jonsson (skipper), Alexander Borromeo and Neil Etheridge (Goalkeeper).
The Azkals football team was supposed to play it's semis against Indonesia in a home field. Sadly, the Philippines does not have the football field that meets international standards. The players who composed the team is no doubt a powerhouse. They fought well despite playing in the home field of their opponent. It is time that both the Philippine government and private sectors rethink their sports strategies. Football is a sport where the Filipinos can take center stage. It does not require anything that the Filipino foootball athletes do not have. The only thing lacking is the support and the encouragement for them to excel in their field, nothing more. The Azkals have proven time and again that determination and heart can take anyone to places. It is time we take notice and focus on a sport where Filipinos can be at their best.