The Philippine Azkals will face Brunei Darussalam at 6 p.m. today (Friday) at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, with nothing less than a win to keep their hopes alive just two games into the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022.
The squad fell to Cambodia, 3-2, in its opening game in Phnom Penh Tuesday night. Two goals in the first 20 minutes of the match plus another one in the 59th minute were enough to wither a comeback by the team. Keshiro Daniels scored a brace to lead the Philippines back into the match. But again, a loss is a loss.
And judging from the comments by fans in almost all football chat forums in the country, the loss is enough to call for the firing of Azkals’ team manager Dan Palami, among other things. In fact, if you want to see classic examples of crab mentality and how to put down our own national team, all you have to do is check the comments section.
But I will not spoil your Friday with negativity or use this platform to call out those, who have nothing good or encouraging to say about our Azkals, with just two more days before Christmas and the team playing a crucial game tonight. Darating tayo d’yan when the real “singilan” comes.
But for the meantime, win or lose, the Azkals will always be my team. And yours, too.
While the loss against a much-improved Cambodian side was hard to swallow, the team can bounce back to contention with a win against Brunei tonight.
This is why I’m calling all those who heaped insults and bashed the team to no end to be at the Rizal Memorial Stadium tonight and to the next home game. Even those who made the life of The Designated Kit Man miserable just because of a screenshot without posting the link of the whole column just to fit the narrative they want.
Bash me more – go ahead and enjoy the democracy that our forefathers fought hard for and the free wi-fi of your neighbors. I don’t care as long as you show up and be the 12th man in the game against Brunei and Indonesia on the second day of the new year. It will be more than enough for all my troubles. May sukli pa kayo.
Let’s reserve the negativity just for the rest of the tournament. We can always bash the team after the Mitsubishi Electric Cup is over. Heck, we can call for Palami’s head and especially those manning the Philippine Football Federation, for all I care. But please, not until the Azkals have played the last minute of the ongoing AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup.
Now that our local-based players are given the opportunity to play in the tournament, the least we could do is cheer for them. Let’s put a moratorium on magnifying every mistake they made in the first game. For sure, they have heard enough already from the coaching staff. It would be better to give them encouragement and add to their confidence. A prayer or two will greatly help, too.
The Azkals are a young team. Most of them are inexperienced. Many of them are playing internationally for the flag and country for the first time. And hearing some stories on how the team struggled just to be able compete in the tournament is testament already to its resiliency in battling the odds. Even before the Azkals reach the pitch.
Most of the veteran Azkals and the big names, who are always relied upon by the management and coaching are not present simply because the tournament is not under FIFA dates. Clubs are not obligated to release their players for their national teams. Please try to remember this before you ask the coaching staff and the Azkals management why Gerrit Holtmann, Neil Etheridge and other foreign-based Azkals are not in the squad.
Let’s support the team and show that we are not only good at criticizing them but we can also be there, physically, when they need us most.
Pamasko na natin sa kanila ‘to.
Speaking of rising through adversity, our paddle pusher Aljay Villena grabbed his second gold medal in the ongoing 2022 US Open Table Tennis Championship in Ontario, California. The 17-year-old ping pong wunderkind just won the Sandpaper Men’s Open title of the event yesterday.
Aljay bagged the gold medal in the hard bat juniors’ event before settling for the runner’s up spot in the hard bat open category the other day to raise his medal haul to three.
Thank you for your sacrifices and strong determination to bring honor and fame to our country, Aljay! Good job, too, to Ryan Gabriel for moving heaven and earth just for Aljay to realize his dream and potential.
On a side note, The Designated Kit Man is now one year old! This milestone will not be possible if not for the support of my editor, the ever cool Riera Mallari, our uber patient news editor Joyce Pañares, Opinion editor Honor Blanco Cabie, Sir Rollie Estabillo and the whole Manila Standard team.
It has been a very interesting journey so far and a continuing learning process for me. Especially on how to write better and the ever-present struggle to give that extra inch of patience. My gratitude also to my readers and supporters who never fail to make me feel that I’m onto something good and worthy of their time and indulgence. Writing this column is much better than therapy. And cheaper, too!
Here is to more interesting musings in 2023.
Merry Christmas! Stay safe. Stay happy peeps!
For comments or questions, you can reach The Designated Kit Man at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his account at Twitter: @erelcabatbat