The Azkals

On a lighter note, the sports world is abuzz because of the recent triumphs of the Azkals, the Philippine National Football Team (soccer). Though basketball would remain the national sports of the country, there seems to be an opening of the hearts of Filipinos to the sport. It’s really sad that, previously, there seems to be little room for it as it fell back in popularity behind other ball games, boxing and martial arts. At least now, people are showing interest, partly due to the sudden spurt in winning games, and largely due (to a wide female and gay following) to the good looking half-Pinoys, half-Brits, Swedish, and a host of other nationalities, being true to their adopted name (literally translated to mutt or half-breed).

I’m not really a big soccer fan myself. Tried to get myself interested in it years ago when it became popular with college friends, alas, I find the sport really tiring, what with all that running back and forth that huge field, with very little chances of scoring. My blood, however, gets excited with basketball (I am quite the die-hard Ginebra and Lebron James fan although I hardly get to watch the games these days) and volleyball (which I played in my younger years). I remember cheering really hard while watching TV at home, and holding my breath in anticipation whenever the games turn to those nail-biting moments.

But I think there is really hope in soccer for Filipinos. It is of those sports that would make us excel in the international arena as speed and great diskarte are needed, not height, which Filipinos greatly lack. I’m crossing my fingers that they get all the way into the AFC Challenge Cup finals. It was fun watching their games against Mongolia. Too bad they lost the second one in frozen fields of Ulaan Bator. We can’t wait as they face Myanmar, Palestine and Bangladesh next.

Who knows, the World Cup might not be far behind.

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