Friday, April 1, 2011

Azkals (Philippine National Football Team) Joins the Suzuki Cup's Kick-Off in Los Baños, Laguna

With the Philippine National Football Team or Azkal's win over Bangladesh last March 25, 2011, the whole country has been in an uproar, providing a huge wave of support for the team. The team has been in the news - whether it be news, showbiz or sports. They deserve it, really. There are some who think that Azkal's popularity is getting into their heads and that they don't deserve the financial and moral support, but I beg to differ. Please, give our hardworking athletes a break! Football is a great addition to the line of sports that Filipino people are focusing on (which includes billiards and boxing), and hopefully it won't be the last.

The Azkals' win is in great timing with Suzuki U-23 Cup Kick-Off Launch. The news that the Azkals are coming spread like wildfire. The kick-off ceremony was held at the Grand Stand of UP Los Baños Freedom Park Lower Grounds. Too bad it's the finals week in the university; some students couldn't come even if they wanted to (I can just imagine the look on these students' faces while yearning to leave the classroom to see the famous football team).

The weather was not that bad, although it drizzled for a while. Still, the fans and football enthusiasts remain undaunted. The people, young and old, surrounded the Grand Stand where the program was held.  Some fans seem to be waiting for the Younghusband brothers (which I know won't be able to grace the event), but team-lovers shrieked in delight at the sight of other team players.

Some fans even when to the back of the Grand Stand to get autographs of their favorite players (amidst the rain).

The following Azkals are the ones I recognized (I wasn't able to catch a glimpse of them all):

#3 Jerry Barbaso
#6 Roel Gener
#9 Yanti Bersales
#12 Ángel Guirado
#13 Emelio "Chieffy" Caligdong
#14 Mark Ferrer
#19 Nestorio Margase

The Azkals' bus (being crowded around as if the Younghusbands would suddenly appear).

VIPs, which include Azkal's coach Hans Michael Weis and team manager Dan Palami, joined the Kick-Off Ceremony.

Children dressed in football gear have done their share and willingly slumped on the ground (aren't they adorable?).

Laguna Football Team and Baguio City Football Team are the teams that played at the launch of Suzuki U-23 Cup.

Laguna Football Team
Baguio City Football Team
The Game Officials

A couple of Azkals players, specifically Angel Guirado and Chieffy Caligdong, gave a small exhibition. Just a small trivia: Angel Guirado scored two out of the three goals that the Azkals were able to score against Bangladesh in last week's game.

After the exhibition, the Azkals were ready to depart. They just had to fight through the wave of crowd blocking their path. 

The three biggest networks in the country, namely ASB-CBN, GMA 7 and TV 5, were all present to cover the event.

TV5 news/sports reporter

GMA 7's Chino Trinidad with a fan.

The team players happened to pass me by (without anyone blocking us) but my not-so-trusty camera went on emergency low battery shut down. How frustrating is that?! And right when they were just within reach! Hay, life!

#12 Angel Guirado

Team Manager Dan Palami (right)

I know you lot are waiting for more close-up pictures of the Azkals, but since I wasn't able to catch good ones, I borrowed (with permission) some from Keamistry's blog (visit her at Thanks Miss Kea!



  1. Hi Jairene, Kea here. Can you please edit the link you provided here, it's now, no longer Thank you so much! Nice blog btw. :)