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Football, Finally!

Azkals Fanboy! (Photo by Marc Tarronas)

I’ve waited years to be able to cheer for the Philippine football team just like the rest of the world does for their own national team. Ever since I was a kid and I started playing soccer (1st grade), I always wanted to play for this country and dreamed of beating Brazil, but I had to put those dreams on hold as I grew and saw that Football in this country would take years to develop. I just then went on to silently look for signs that Football is about to emerge in this country. Now, the wait is finally over and I have to say, it was so much worth the wait!

Losing my voice within the first 20 minutes of the game, getting drenched by the rain, cheering on the Azkals, jumping up and down and constantly and intensely heckling the Sri Lankans (sorry, Lord) was all worth it. Football has finally caught the attention of this country. It wasn’t the world cup but it sure felt like it. Now I can just imagine how amazing it would be to cheer with 100,000 people in a huge football stadium.

While I knew that a significant portion of those who watched were there for the eye-candies more than the game itself, I still appreciated their presence and wild shrieks because even though they were cheering reasons other than the game, they made a lot of noise – which, for players on the pitch, would register as a cheer nonetheless.

I long for the day that the Azkals will be competitive against the likes of Brazil, Germany, Argentina and England. But for now I set my hopes on us being able to win in our SEA region and be competitive in Asia. As Coach Weiss says, “Please be patient with us.”

Let’s be patient enough to understand that goals won’t come in bunches. (The beauty of the game lies in the anticipation of that 1 big goal that can break the heart of a whole nation)

Let’s be patient enough to know the rules of the 90-minute game. (It’s fine to cheer their good looks, but at least let’s make an effort to understand the game.)

Let’s be patient enough to cheer our team even as they lose to superior teams (there are 158 teams that are supposedly stronger than us. It’s a long climb. We can’t win every game – but we can cheer during each one.)

Let’s be patient enough to accept that through the years, we’ve lagged far behind in Football and that there’s so much catching up to do.

Let’s be patient enough with the coaches and the players. (To know that they have off-games, that they make mistakes, and that they miss shots)

It may take decades, give or take a few, for our World Cup dreams to come to fruition (I’m just being realistic here), but we’ll get there. 🙂 And believe me, when that time comes, I’ll make sure I’ll be there to watch and cheer and heckle like crazy once more!

In the meantime, I need to find out when they’ll sell tickets to the next home game. 🙂

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