Mongrels in-fighting

Fresh from their bout in the freezing Mongolia last week the Philippine Azkals are set to face Myanmar in their first qualifiers match tomorrow (or if you’re reading this on the 21st, today). Then after that Palestine on Wednesday and Bangladesh on Friday.

But before we start cheering and hoping for a win (or most likely a draw) we should first consider the grave problem facing the new big names of the Philippines sport circuit.

Before they even think about going up against bigger and better teams they should start fixing the rift between themselves.

What am I talking about?

The silent civil war between the Filipinos (which from here on will be known as p) and the Fil-whatevers (which from here on will be known as m).

It’s no secret (at least to me) that there is a certain amount of animosity between these two groups within the football team and the strain is starting to show making them weaker with every appearance and issue on the media.

The Azkals first came under the public eye when it upset Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup and rode that wave into their participation in the current AFC Challenge Cup. However, because of their success the spotlight shone on some, more than others particularly the two Youghusband brothers (probably because of their weird last names); garnering story after story in the local news as the Azkals gained recognition.

I could say that the duo deserve all the credit that they were due and I’d be half-right. They are definitely skilled but not break out stars. The point is, the attention they’re getting isn’t wholly because of their performance on the pitch but rather on the quality of their looks. I’d make a bet for anyone to deny this but I’d be waiting a hell of a long time.

The frustration this is causing can be primarily seen on another skilled player Emelio ‘Chieffy’ Caligdong who first displayed signs of this when he scored a goal in their match against Mongolia in Baguio. He gesticulated to the back of his jersey showing off his name as proof that he is a Filipino. (In a recent blog post covering the first match between the Azkals and Mongolia after Chieffy scored the first goal one of the bar patrons described in the story was wondering who scored and why he wasn’t known. “Kasi hindi gwapo“) was the answer to the second question, they all laughed and he was right.And again in an interview after reporting on Phil Younghusbands injury Chieffy said something along the lines of “Kakayanin namin yan. Alam mo naman tayong mga Pinoy hindi sumusuko” (I may be mis-reading but) the words seem to make an impression that he is drawing a distinct line between ‘p’ and ‘m’.

He’s good at hiding it but there’s definitely something going on, he’s a little pissed and I can’t say I blame the guy. He’s a fantastic booter that has scored more the country countless times before the upset in Vietnam, heck even back when the Suzuki Cup was known as the Tiger Cup. And not just him, there are other talented players making up the Philippine roster: Captain Aly Borromeo, Eduard Scapano (he may have let Mongolia score twice but the second on was a rebound), Yanti Barsales, Ian Araneta, Roel Gener, Mark Ferrer, and Anton Del Rosario among others.

To think that all these talented players exist and the spotlight to be cast on one or two players is bordering on disrespectful. Football is a team sport and they reap the glory as a team. I’m not saying the Youghhusbands don’t deserve the stuff they’re getting, I’m not saying that at all but the loss of one player (though he may be the biggest striking threat) does not automatically spell doom for the rest of the tourney.

After losing to Mongolia on the second leg naysayers (Angelica Panganiban fans) have flooded the comment boxes of yahoo stories that the Azkals should stick to getting their skill straight before letting their head get too big. Comments such as ‘masyadong pa-cute‘ and ‘mayabang‘ were found in great abundance.

I feel for these idiots and their loss of greater mental function, but this highlights (though quite dully) the problem in impartial recognition. The Azkals fought and are fighting as a team. It is incredibly stupid to give all praise to the strikers who score goals but to the people on the other end as well. Not because they’re ‘cute’, ‘gwapo‘ or ‘fafable‘, but because of their skill and performance on the pitch.

The only way to unite them is for them to feel that we (as fans) are united behind them, ALL OF THEM.

This article isn’t meant to cause wounds yet to be opened, it is meant to shed light on a problem before it becomes too serious to deal with.

And to all the fan girls just STFU and watch the damn game.

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Isang Tugon to “Mongrels in-fighting”

  1. totoo masyadong pa cute lalo na si phil mukha namang mane

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