the azkals experience!
i'm a big football fan. ever since i was young, my brother made me sit beside him to watch world cup matches. he didn't play the sport, he's just a fan as well, but he taught me how to love the game.
i got the chance to meet azkals team manager dan palami at a unicef charity event where the azkals had a contribution, and i took the chance to ask him how i could get tickets to the july 3 world cup qualifier match against sri lanka here in manila. he happily said he'll send me tickets. and he did. :)
the traffic in manila on the roads leading to rizal memorial stadium was insane. there were banners everywhere cheering for the philippines! it was an awesome day for pinoy pride to shine! even the pedicabs had tarps to cheer on the azkals!
most of the spectators decided to just walk it. the energy on the streets while walking to the stadium was un-be-lie-va-ble!!!! there were people cheering, people with face paint, and vuvuzelas went off everywhere! yes! there were vuvuzelas! i wish i brought mine!
heading into the stadium, we bumped into so many familiar faces! old schoolmates who used to play football, friends who we watched world cup matches with, uncles who brought their kids, everyone who loved football was in rizal that day!
the sky was gloomy and the clouds were dark. the air was cool and there was a strong breeze to keep everyone in a great mood. the pitch was beautiful.
from the bleachers to the grandstand, the place was packed! it was so awesome to see so many people come together for the love of football!
the whistle went off, and the game began. everyone screamed and cheered at every single possession of the philippines! the rain was pouring as in it was raining cats and dogs for probably the first ten minutes of the game, but the fans who were soaking wet were enjoying every minute of it!
in the first part of the match alone, the azkals probably had 95% possession of the ball. the boys were in high spirits! and sure enough, in the 18th minute into the first half, after some seriously and sickeningly beautiful footwork, chieffy caligdong scored the first goal!!!!
after some serious screaming and dancing on the stands, everyone finally sat down and that was when i decided to take a photo! to prove that i really was there! hahaha! this is me with my dear friend henry, a big football fan himself! he actually went to south africa for semis of the last world cup!!!! lucky shmuck!
and because no one else would take our group photo, i had to take a photo of henry (again) and another dear friend maui! both henry and maui used to play football way back when they were in southridge, and both were wishing they never stopped playing! (dream on, boys! haha!)
a bit before half time, on the 42nd minute, after a lot of good attempts, phil younghusband scored a second goal for the philippines!!!! it was quite an anti-climactic goal cause the ball went in, and the crowd went wild, then the match officials had to discuss if there was indeed a foul and the goal wouldn't count, then the officials announced that it was clear, and the crowd went wild again! hahahahaha!
during half time everyone was in extremely high spirits, given that the score was philippines - 2, sri lanka - 0! then in the bleacher section, a huge philippine flag was passed around from one side of the field to the other! it was awesome!
whistle goes off again. second half. the crowds vocal chords were just about to recover from all the screaming in the first half when after outsmarting sri lankan defenders, angel guirado scored a third goal for the philippines on the 50th minute!!!! woohoo! as you can see everyone was jumping and screaming, which is why the photo is blurry. haha!
then, in the 56th minute, after stephan shrock was tackled by a defender inside the box, phil younghusband scored his second goal for the game via a clean and strong penalty kick!!!! 4-0 baby! yeaaaah!
at this point, everyone was just celebrating! there was clapping, cheering, screaming, dancing.. and of course, the infamous waaaaaaaaaaave!
after just a few minutes of injury time, the whistle went off for the last time, and everyone celebrated! 4-0, the philippines wins over sri lanka!!!!!!!! good job azkals!!!! you make every filipino proud to be pinoy!!!!
watching football live is an experience like no other. wow. :) and if the game high wasn't enough, on the way out, the sweetest azkals fans gave me this baller band as a gift. i love it! thank you whoever you are! :)
it is sooo good to see the love for football so alive in the philippines!!!! go azkals!!!!