The Philippines is no country for Football Fanatics.
Everytime the World Cup is at fever pitch, the Philippines is one of a few places where life moves on without interest at all in what’s happening to the rest of the soccer-loving globe.
But that impression could possibly (and slowly) change in a few years with the sudden popularity of the Philippine Azkals.
These guys achieved some sort of a miracle when they beat defending champion Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup and entered the semifinals to everyone’s surprise.
The Azkals became overnight celebrities in the Philippines and in an instant, the country got hit by unbridled interest in the sport.
They recently lost in the semifinals to Indonesia and were stopped short of a far more glorious performance.
But it doesn’t stop there. This just could be the turning point that the Philippines needs to strengthen its national football team. I don’t mind if most of the members are half-Pinoy imports (like brothers Phil and James Younghusband plus Neil Etheridge). If they can play more solidly in upcoming tournaments in the region, there is a very good chance that the rest of Asia will treat us as potential contenders and not just punching bags in the sport.
And hopefully, the government can also build at least one football stadium that will pass the standards for international play.
For all of this, credit goes to the Azkals – the Philippine Football Team that could… 😉