Jul 28, 2011

Winning, Losing, Bashing and Violence in Football

Well done Azkals! Reaching the 2nd round of World Cup qualifiers is already an achievement to think that  football is really not a game Filipinos go "gaga" for.

FYI Azkals' bashers, Kuwait has been a 10-time Gulf Cup Champion and they never achieved that "overnight".  Football in Gulf is like basketball in Philippines and USA, cricket in Australia, India, and England, and baseball in USA. I have been in the Gulf for 5 years and I have seen how people (young and old) go crazy over football. Their fans will have their unscheduled/ unplanned parade of cars honking in the middle of the night to show their happiness and support in every win of their national team. National holidays are even declared when their national team wins the Gulf Cup.  You will see football pitch everywhere.  Fans wear the national colors to watch every national game and they are proud in winning and remains hopeful in defeat.

Azkals' journey to the World Cup qualifiers should be a learning experience for the players and also for the fans.  If Philippines really want to achieve a better result in the next World Cup, players should train hard and join commercial leagues that will hone their skills.  It is obvious that our players still need a lot of experience. Four years is long enough to get that experience. It is enough to scout for younger players as well. The fans on the other hand will have the time to understand that football is a game; more time to become matured supporters. The team needs your support now, more than ever and bashing will not help.

Like Azkals, Filipino football supporters has something to be proud of, too.  We welcomed Kuwaiti players in Philippines and accepted their win without violence unlike Myanmar fans.  At the same time that a match is being held in the Philippines, violence erupted in Myanmar as their football supporters threw whatever they could (including stones) to the pitch and to Omani players after Oman scored 2 goals to Myanmar's 0. The riot halted the game and I hope Omani players can go safely back to Oman.

What a football...

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