by Daryl Lagos
The Philippines build-up towards the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 has reached one of it's 'Periodic Exams" battling Bahrain to a 0-0 Draw in Manama before slightly losing 2-1 to the home side Kuwait.
The Azkals did not entirely fielded the lineup who won the Philippine Peace Cup 2012 but did have the Younghusbands, Guirado Brothers, Lucena, Cagara, Jonsson, Mulders, Muller & Neil Etheridge for Kuwait which proved to be a handful for both middle eastern countries to just hammer away a win on the Philippines.
We are trying to get what we like to call in the music industry the "Final Mix" for our ultimate goal this year, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 out of the deep bench in the Azkals disposal.
The draw in Bahrain proved to be a substantial result against a team that used to be 44 in the world! GCC Champions & Arab Champions in 2011 and is always a force to reckon with in the Middle East & Asia.
Kuwait proved to be a step ahead exhibiting speed, stamina and fitness. Sitting at 112 world wide, Al-Asraq proved to be a bench mark for the country to break. The regular gulf champions has kept the Philippines from advancing in last year's world cup qualification.
The Azkals exhibited discipline and class throughout the field & game and even proving hard to crack easily on defense. The Philippines did not settle for an all defensive action without counter attacks or trying to set up a formation to get a win unlike our previous match in Kuwait.
I can see Angel Guirado, Dennis Wolf, Phil Younghusband in the Kuwait match battling with their defensive match ups to get on the score sheet, the Mid-Field was on war and our Goal Keepers in both matches were highly up to the challenge.
Roland Muller highlighted a great save from a Bahrain attack the could have been the most dangerous for the Azkals. Neil Etheridge was more than outstanding and produced one of the best goal keeping for the nationals I have seen so far, multiple saves from several attacks and what capped it off was a penalty effort saved from a Kuwaiti striker and yet again saving the rebound only seconds right after.
His loan to the pirates kept him sharp and focused. I once said to myself, Bristol Rovers has the entire Philippines guarding their goal now.
3 Stars and a Sun!
You can never take away anything from the team against these 2 countries. We even won a lot of respect and experience. OFWs in particular are ecstatic to see our team go head to head with the host countries, because for them it is not just football but playing for their pride, honor and recognition.
Many might not have seen this part of the pitch but the not only did our team came there, they saw the people who looked up to them and conquered the notion that one day we will be there to win a game and prove Filipinos are truly up to the global challenge in and out of the pitch.
I admire that people on Twitterverse that has already learned the importance of not only producing goals in match, its every little thing that should come together as an entire piece, an entire team.
Decisions are made by the coaches & management based on how they become to see it and people are starting to appreciate the bigger picture. Healthy and constructive arguments that results to deepening relationships between the supporters and football.
A lost or a draw cannot just dictate the massive improvements we have come upon till this date. We still lack some cohesion, but just a little bit of tweaking here and there we will get that engine running.
I am pleased with the Azkals experience in the Middle East!
by Daryl Lagos
The victory could not have been so much sweeter when the nation of basketball crazy population have waited 99 years to be declared winners of an international footballing event.
It was in the Far Eastern Games (ASIAN GAMES) 1913 when the Philippines had last won gold.
There was no loss on record for the Azkals in the Philippines Peace Cup 2012.
The likes of Macau, Guam and Chinese Taipei were a fair test for team that is preparing for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012. The most prestigious ASEAN Cup ever! It is also the same event back in 2010 that saw the Philippines rise from the ashes.
The championship night was sealed off by goals from Dennis Santos Wolf, Skipper Chieffy Caligdong and OJ Porteria. This is also the 1st win over final's rival Chinese Taipei in 7 Clashes.
The Azkals played class in all 3 matches that in turned sealed them to sweep the entire tournament.
This also reflected in the awarding ceremony that saw Dennis Wolf, as the Golden Boot Awardee & Most Valuable Player, Mathew Uy was declared the best Mid-Fielder while Jeff Christiaens taking home best defender award.
Eduard Sacapano hailed as the best Goalkeeper taking command in the absence of GK Neil Etheridge & Roland Muller. All these players came from the Philippine National Football team.
Shining through the night was the trophy for the Champions that was also won by the Philippines.
Though a minor tournament, Azkals Coach Weiss was confident that this win will boost the national side's confidence in competing to what he would call as the "Climax" of these entire preparation..The AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 in November.
FIFA has also released the World Rankings that now sees the Philippines at 147, 21st in Asia, and 3rd in South East Asia.
This has been the nation's highest rank in history...yet.
Great Shots by Anton Sheker
The Azkals coming off a strengthening process after reaching historical milestones such as the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 3rd place finish are approaching an almost new phase in their preparations for the the region's most prestigious tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012.
The Philippines started off with a draw in Cambodia, 0-0 Score line last Wednesday did not really reflect the story that went with it. We had the upper hand as to controlling the match tempo and creating chances but was just not able to finish with a goal. Quite unlucky too as we could have scored but it's either the post saving it for Cambodia, or us missing it an inch wide and hitting it a little off target. The pitch was horrible and as if it was not meant to be for us...rain made it even more worst. No argument, many people said that we could have done better but this is football.
One big revelation however, is the quality shown by Filipino-Belgian Patrick Reichelt who came in as a impact-sub in the later half.
Expectations are high but these friendlies are tests for the team to know where and when to put on the needed adjustments. Winning is great, but the journey towards it is even greater.
Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 saw the Azkals battling regional football powerhouse Singapore. The Philippines twisting history again by defeating The Lions 2 - 0 in what many would describe as a glimpse of our potentials best displayed. Bob Guerrero would account this win for the Philippines as the 1st in the last 40 Years. FIFA would revealed our country defeating Singapore in 1972 with the same score.
Chieffy Caligdong scored in the 1st goal creating a shot for himself at 8' minute mark, followed by a precise curve shot by Phil Younghusband for the 2nd goal in the 48' minute at the 2nd half. Our defenders being led by Rob Gier, Jason Sabio, Carli De Murga and Jeffrey Christiaens were solid to help fend off Singapore's attack providing much needed defensive cover for our No.1 GK Neil Etherdige at the post.
The arrival of Filipino-German Stephan Schrock and playing along side with the team Vs Singapore is one big boost for the Philippines. Schrock was involved in a number of visionary passing that helped scored both goals. An assist to Chieffy and a great ball to set Phil Younghusband made a lot of difference. Stephan would then say that he is just a small piece of the team and that everyone played a great game.
Everyone has been waiting for the most formidable Azkals squad ever, but the hardship of trying to get our best team is always a work in progress since many of them still play for their European clubs. Having get them to play together for a short period is a leisure for both the country and the management but it is never impossible.
The Azkals is now enjoying a little bit more flexibility in trying to field the best squad in every match. The move of Fil-Europeans like Jason De Jong, Dennis Wolf and Patrick Reichelt for instance to our United Football League (UFL) is instrumental to the success of the national team. Younger players are influenced and more Filipinos are taking on the challenge than ever before with the emergence of professional football in the country.
A young 9 year old Filipino kid Sandro Reyes has been accepted to Barcelona's Futbol Escola, the development of our grass root programs and the recent partnership of DEPed & PFF. The many more undiscovered young Filipino talents in the country with football genes waiting to be polished...the future looks promising.
The Philippines National Football Team is now on its 3rd and final ASEAN 3-Nation tour in Laos. They will play a friendly game with the host country on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The Azkals will miss the services of Phil & James Younghusband which is due to a very important family commitment, while Jerry Lucena has been recalled by his club, the final line up for LAOS is listed below from the Official Site.
The following national team players have been called up for the friendly against Laos on September 10, 2012.
Goalkeepers: Neil Leonard Etheridge, Eduard Sacapano, Ref Delany Cuaresma
Defenders: David Mark Basa, Robert James Gier, Jason Abbott Sabio, Carlos Alberto Martinez de Murga, Roel Gener
Midfielders: Marwin Angeles, Marvin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Emelio Caligdong, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason Nicolas Maria De Jong, Nestorio Margarse Jr., Paul Mulders, Jose Elmer Porteria, Andres Crisanto Gonzales, Patrick Reichelt, Stephan Schrock
Forwards: Ian Araneta, Denis Wolf
Since coming to PSG in 2005, Alphonse Areola never stops growing. And has already reached its adult size (1.91 m), the great goalkeeper has not finished growing sport. Far from it even, according to Bertrand Reuzeau. "He still has much room for growth," said the head of training in Paris.
"What impresses me is that it crosses the steps one after the other without ever panicking and staying himself," says the coach of Team France U19, Pierre Mankowski, who recently promoted to captain the French-Filipino born in Paris there are nineteen. Qu'Areola a rewarding role, that precocious talent has always amazed by his maturity - he signed his first professional contract at PSG at the age of 16 years - was "very logically assumed."
This season, the player seems to have found the right carburetion CFA. "It's like he's driving a brand new Ferrari with a full tank and it started to become a good driver," dares his agent Franck Belhassen. The young goalkeeper produced quality games and enjoy each day to drive from the experience of Sirigu, Douchez and Le Crom. "The coach (Ed: Carlo Ancelotti) took a fourth guard this winter (Le Crom) so he can continue playing in reserve and not to sit on the bench or in the stands," said Franck Belhassen. The result is there. "It is on the rise, Judge Bertrand Reuzeau. It will now confirm that in the professional world. "
Exactly. Carlo Ancelotti, who had wanted when he arrived this winter, see more young Parisian become hardened in the CFA, he decides to do so soon go up in rank, while the future remains unclear Douchez and Le Crom is out of contract? Areola, which extended its lease last summer at PSG until 2016, still has time to convince.
And the assumption of a loan is not excluded. To his coach at the U19 tricolor Pierre Mankowski is an avenue to explore: "This is quite exceptional for being so young owner of a professional subject, but it would be good for his personal development, progression and training he discovers a new level. This is the case of PSG, but for me the ideal would be that he plays at least in L2. "
Monitored since its inception by big European teams ( Manchester United , Tottenham, Chelsea ...), its profile would undoubtedly attract the interest of some coaches. Franck Belhassen admit to not having yet begun discussions with the Parisian club. "Its aim is to hold one day at PSG and for that he must go and get playing time in a higher division at CFA. "But when? "That's the club to decide," concluded the agent.
Fil-French Areola proud of Azkals' progress
By Edward Lao, ABS-CBN News Europe Bureau
LONDON – Young Filipino-French goal-keeper Alphonse Areola is proud of the achievements of the Philippine national team, especially as he has been following the Azkals' progress since their rise to prominence in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
Filipino-French goal-keeper Alphonse Areola. File photo. "I'm happy and proud of the Azkals because they have made rapid progression," said the 19-year-old Areola, who plays for Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain.
"I used to play in courtyards in the Philippines with my family and friends, and nobody knew football. It was only basketball," he related.
"I used to tell my mother it was my dream to have a football team for the Philippines, and now it's happening."
Areola’s parents are both Filipinos but he was born and raised in Paris, and is playing for the French Under-19 team.
Areola has not been capped by the senior team, however, meaning he can still choose to represent the Philippines.
The Azkals field a large contingent of foreign-born or half-blooded Filipino players. Although they have undoubtedly contributed to the success of the team, their presence has also raised speculation and debates regarding their Filipino identity.
Before the AFC Challenge Cup last March, veteran GMA-7 anchor Arnold Clavio sparked an uproar when he accused some Azkals of only pretending to be Filipino. The tirade, which took place on their show 'Unang Hirit,' was during a discussion on the sexual harassment complaints filed against players Lexton Moy and Angel Guirado.
The topic of race came up anew on June 5, when the Philippines faced Indonesia in an international friendly in Manila. During the match, some Indonesian fans chanted 'Hindi Kayo Pilipino' (You are not Filipino) to members of the Azkals.
Areola admits he was shocked by the chants, but said it does not matter as long as the selected players are eligiible and that the Philippines continue to progress.
"I don't mind if players are mixed, half-Filipino, German, English," Areola said. "It doesn't cause a problem as long as they are part Filipino. They automatically have Filipino blood."
"For the Azkals to have a great team they need to have real players. It doesn't matter if they are half-Filipino as long as they have a good team," he added.
Areola is undecided about his footballing future, as he plays on the French youth team but has also caught the eye of Azkals management.
"There's a chance of going senior. But if I don't get a call, then I have to reconsider my options because of my age, and maybe play for the Philippines," he said.
Areola will be France's first choice-goalkeeper when they play in the Under-19 European Championships In Estonia in July.
December 2010, The AFF Suzuki Cup dreams ended for the Philippines as Indonesia hosted the semi-finals on both Home-Away games winning 2-0 on aggregate.
The Philippines could not host the home game due to an sub-par pitch at the RMS.
The Azkals who were having a historical run at the cup suffered heart breaking loses that would only propel an entire basketball nation to swivel a head and take notice of football.
A year and half, more training days / games, 3rd place win at the AFC Challenge Cup, new sponsors and bringing Filipino football players from all over the world later...we have now reached another game day vs Indonesia.
Today June 5, 2012, The Philippines will be hosting a match that would be a testing ground of their progress for this year's edition of the Suzuki Cup via a friendly match. luckily, Indonesia will be facing the most promising Philippine team ever assembled and available all together at a time.
Indonesia will be fighting for a winning streak Vs the Philippines that has never been broken.
The Azkals on the other hand are to take a periodical quiz in front of screaming Filipino supporters that are all hoping for a win & vengeance.
Indonesia whopped the Philippines in 2002, with a 13-1 triumph at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, but this is entirely a different squad that includes Filipino footballers from across the world.
Leading the Indons are Dutch Born Bachdim and an ever threatening Okto, while the Philippines will be have The Younghusbands back after missing an earlier friendly with Malaysia, Neil Etheridge at the post, Jerry Lucena & Dennis Cagara on the pitch and a much more solid line up of Chieffy Caligdong, Paul Mulders, Manny Ott, Rob Gier, Angel Guirado, Jason Sabio, Juan Luis, Carli, Misagh and the strong others.
The Filipino right-back has penned a deal until 2015 with Markus Babbel's side and has declared himself delighted with the opportunity of playing in Germany's top flight
Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim have announced they have signed Azkals star Stephan Schrock from Greuther Furth on a three-year deal.
The Philippines international will move to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on a free transfer, after his contract with the 2.Bundesliga leaders expires at the end of the current season.
The 25-year-old, who made his debut with the Philippines last June in a World Cup qualification match against Sri Lanka, has declared himself delighted to join the Sinsheim-based side, saying that this gives him the opportunity of taking a step to the next level.
“I'm very much looking forward to the challenge at Hoffenheim, who have made a name for themselves on their way to becoming an established side in the Bundesliga,” he was quoted as saying by bundesliga.de.
“I can take the next step in my career here.”
Schrock's signing also was praised by Hoffenheim boss Markus Babbel, who said that the Filipino right-back was a major target for his club.
“Stephan Schrock was a prime transfer target for mine. He has all the qualities that a modern day defender needs to have,” he said.
“In signing him we have gained the necessary substance and will have more alternatives in our defensive department for the future.”
Kathmandu: The Philippines ended an impressive 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign in third place as Phil Younghusband's double propelled the Azkals to a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Palestine in an absorbing encounter between the two beaten semi-finalists. Youngusband took his individual tally to five as the Azkals took the lead with just four minutes into Monday's meeting at the Dashrath Stadium before Abdulhamid Abuhabib's sweetly-struck right-foot curler drew Palestine level in the 20th minute.
The Philippines reclaimed their advantage from the penalty spot just four minutes later as Younghusband scored his sixth of the campaign before Angel Guirado, returning after missing the semi-final through suspension, made it 3-1 just before the break.
Abuhabib closed the gap with his second of the match in the 67th minute only for Juan Guirado to restore the Philippines' two-goal cushion two minutes later.
Fahed Attal scored Palestine's third and although the West Asians pushed hard for the leveller the Philippines held out for the 4-3 win.
The Philippines got off to a blistering start when an intelligent ball from skipper Emelio Calgdong released Younghusband down the left flank and the 24-year-old cut inside towards goal and skilfully escaped the attention of two defenders before firing low past Palestine captain Ramzi Saleh for his first of the match.
Palestine should have drawn level three minutes later when Husam Abusalah sprung the Philippines offside trap to release Fahed Attal but he missed the chance to extend his record as he mishit his shot with only keeper Eduardo Sacapano, who was coming in for the suspended Neil Etheridge, to beat.
A lapse in concentration at the back from Khaled Mahdi, one of just four players in the Palestine squad that featured in the goalless draw with the Philippines in the qualifiers, gave Paul Mulders a golden opportunity to double the Azkals' advantage but Saleh did well to block the ADO Den Haag winger's shot with his leg.
A period of Palestine pressure followed, with Khader Abuhammad off-target from the same area as Attal's earlier miss before Mohammed Mohammed showed some deft skills to fashion a shooting opportunity only to see his 19th minute effort cannon off the crossbar.
The deserved equaliser did come a minute later with Abdulhamid Abuhabib curling the ball superbly into the top corner only for all their good work to be undone in the 24th minute, when Caligdong was tripped in the box allowing Younghusband to confidently slam home his sixth of the tournament from the penalty spot.
With four minutes of the half remaining Angel Guirado got in behind the Palestine defence and easily slipped the ball past the advancing Saleh for the Azkals' third as the Philippines took a commanding lead into the interval.
Marwin Angeles replaced injured skipper Caligdong in the second half with James Younghusband, also back from suspension, taking over the captain's armband.
Neither side was able to really test their opponent's keeper in the first 20 minutes of the second period but when there was finally a shot on target it was made to count with Palestine drawing level in the 67th minute.
The ball was worked across the face of the Philippines' penalty area, finding its way to the unmarked Abuhabib, who lashed home his second of the match.
But again, the Philippines hit back almost immediately, when good build-up play from James Younghusband and Angel Guirado sent Angel's brother Juan through on goal and the 32-year-old coolly slotted the ball past Saleh to make it 4-2 in the 69th minute.
Palestine reduced the deficit less than ten minutes later when Attal scored his ninth AFC Challenge Cup goal after the Philippines failed to clear the ball before Abuhabib was denied his hat-trick and the equaliser in the 81st minute thanks to a fine reflex save from Sacapano.
Palestine pushed hard to get back on level terms but the Philippines were not be denied the win in an epic conclusion to their 2012 AFC Challenge Cup campaign.
by Daryl Lagos
Founder - Azkals United
I get comments from people like "I am starting to hate Azkals United" - "Sexual Harassment should not be tolerated" & "Know your facts, Excuse me..." are just a few of them.
When we found out about the sexist & racist remarks of the GMA 7 hosts, I felt for the FILIPINA mothers who gave birth to these proud FILIPINOS dawning our flag in international football.
let me get this straight, We are not for the misconduct of any member of the team, certainly and strongly not for the tolerance of sexual harassment as a general act.
We are for the FILIPINOS who support the comeback of Philippine football.
We are for what is right and just...and I certainly believe that all of us are entitled to our own opinions.
What bothers me is that a public host/anchor/journalist/broadcaster who is by the way on the position to openly report on events across millions of viewers can tarnish,manipulate,mislead, and put malice to certain situations.
Building a good reputation is one of the hardest act to do, while destroying one is easy as taking a candy from a baby.
So why? are we getting paid? No. Am I for the harassment of women? certainly not. Then what?
When you are given the position to openly inform the public, it is a responsibility.
A responsibility that is to rightfully inform, report to the public, facts and not tarnishing opinions.
The pending case to 2 of the members of the Azkals has yet to be heard nor proven and the remarks you utter certainly tainted the situation painting an imagery of sexual offenders that can/will result to misleading public opinions.
As I said, we are also against such act, but to mislead public opinion...that is uncalled for.
Your racist comments towards these people are also overboard.
What can you say to the millions of Filipinos who trace their roots in our country even if he/she grew up abroad?
are they not entitled to their rights given by our very own law? which protects each and every citizen against bigotry, or an act of being narrow-minded?
It's funny how opinions can be both liberal and destructive, how it can be a shield towards ignorance and disrespect.
Simply put it this way, bigotry is believing that you are absolutely correct and nothing is above that like a fact and an opinion is about speaking a mind into it.
Journalist / Broadcasters should very well know the difference for it doesn't take rocket science to know that you've actually discriminated/offended a person and unlawfully mislead public opinion.
When the PFF questioned about the racist & sexist remarks, you answer on about sexual harassment.
is 1 + 1 = NO ?
the campaign against sexual harassment is no excuse to discriminate.
Paano naman yung purong pinoy sa dugo at balat ngunit paninira ang dulot sa kapwa? hindi ba yun ang hindi dapat tularan?
ESPN fired not just suspended a reporter because the community saw a racist remark on his headline with regards to Asian-American sensation Jeremy Lin.
They found the sensitivity to public opinion far greater than the reporters prejudice, cause at the end of the day it is the people that they serve & entertain that truly matters most.
Football has always been fighting to oust racism simply because it is the World's No. 1 sport and this is the reason behind our cause to fight it and destroy the seed that spreads division and discrimination.
by Daryl Lagos, Azkals United
The Philippines came from behind to win a historic spot in the Semi-Finals of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012.
Proud Filipinos celebrated this win but this TV news anchor spilled his gut on his morning show on national TV stating racist comments towards the players of the Philippine NAtional Football Team.
”Di naman sila mga Filipino, nagpapanggap lang na kayumangi...”
Slandered a way to weave himself to his biased point that the Azkals are "Sex offenders:...
"Alam naman nila yung mga sexcapades ng bawat isa..kung sino ang ngpepenecilin.."
A tag-line of GMA 7 News is
" walang kinilingan, walang pinoprotektahan, serbisyong totoo lamang "
" Nothing is Favored, Nothing is Protected, No Lies, True Service Only "
I think GMA 7 can very well discipline this anchor for misleading public opinions towards a sensitive issue that has yet to be proven.
In addition to this are the comments raised of the eligibility of these football heroes and insulting the feelings of their family, supporters and friends.
ESPN fired an employee, suspends an anchor after insulting racial reference to rookie New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin which goes to show that ESPN cared about the viewers who got offended by a racist remark on an athlete.
I don't think GMA 7 should treat this lightly because if they do, it only goes to show how they try to protect its anchors biased opinions, favoring a party of the accuser and letting them play around sensitive issues.
These people who are in National TV should be responsible enough on their words and to not arrogantly speak about their one-sided thoughts plus the fact they have not even had the chance to speak thoroughly with any from the AZKALS party.
Then there are the comments to the female supporters that jump because the team has good looking players...I smell personal insecurity there, I thought u were trying to speak your mind of respecting females, while in this very fact you insulted them right on?
Neil Etheridge tweeted :
" So let me get this straight... Are people trying to say that my mums not Filipino? So I shouldn't play? Thought WE were a proud country? "
"....frustrating when we pour our hearts out and play with our hearts in our sleeves when we play all for the country "
Cesca Litton Tweeted :
" If we go by Arnold Clavio's definition of "Filipino" as being "lumaki dito" and "kayumanggi" then we just lost millions of people."
Angel Locsin Tweeted :
" I think arnold clavio's a good person. But this time, sobrang foul lang. That's his opinion. This is mine. Madali lang sumira ng reputasyon, mahirap ibalik. Konting sensitivity lang sana.."
Bob Guerrero Tweeted :
" Mr Clavio I dare u to tell the moms of our filfor players to their faces that their sons hav no ryt to call themselves Pinoys. #ArnoldClavio "
I feel sad personally for the FILIPINA mothers of these players because of the foolish statements uttered by these ignorant news anchors.
GMA 7 should fire if not suspend your ignorance.
at the start of the video, the female news anchor even said "..Dapat masampolan..."
Dapat po yata kayo ang sampolan.
Azkals United Cause: Fire if not suspend Arnold Clavio of GMA 7 and we demand a Public Apology from the UH Anchors.
Say yes to this page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Racist-GMA-7s-Anchors/367214049978167?ref=tn_tnmn