PH Azkals beats Turkmenistan 1-0

azkals_vs_turkmenistanAn intense, nerve rocking game but in the end it was a sweet victory for the Pinoy Football Team, Azkals. After dominating Cambodia in a lap sided win 8-0 last Sunday, PH Azkals again proved that we can be a dominant force in South East Asian football with today’s win against Turkmenistan.

After several yellow cards for Phil Younghusband and Rob Gier and the eventual red card for P. Younghusband which made him ejected from the game, the PH Azkals still managed to pull the win against the great Turkmenistan team for the very first time in their match history.

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Azkals placed 3rd in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup

After the controversies surrounding the sexual harassment issue between former POC Chairman Cristy Ramos-Jalasco and some members of the Philippine Football team, and the subsequent racist issue with broadcaster Arnold Clavio, the Philippine Azkals still managed to hold off and write another firsts in Philippine Football history.

Despite the last week’s hear-breaking loss to Turkmenistan (which could have made us into the finals), the Azkals bounced back and brought pride to LAHING KAYUMANGGI as they battled out and won the 3rd place in this year’s AFC Challenge Cup.

The Philippine Azkals defeated Palestinian Football Team in a score of 4-3 during today’s match in Nepal. Phil Younghusband led the win with his 2 goals (which earned for him the Golden Boot Award for being the highest scorer in this tournament having 6 goals). The other 2 goals meanwhile were contributed by the Guirado siblings Angel and Juani.

Azkals coach Michael Wiess is very happy with this achievement for the Philippine football and he hopes to continue the development.

Indeed it was a sweet victory which we all can be proud of. Finally, we have reached another milestone in the field of football. And I hope this will continue to raise awareness of the sport and possibly make our country be known more into the world of football.

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“Every victory should be celebrated especially if the name of the country is at stake”

2011 in Pictures: A Lens Talk Year-Ender

Year 2011 has been a year full of unforgettable events for the Philippines and the world. Tragedies and Triumphs, Mourning and Celebrations, Deaths and Unions, and many other events that shocked, amazed, amused and captured our eyes. Let us look back the passing year and listen to what the lenses have to say for 2011.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

*Disclaimer : All pictures are taken from the internet, credits are given to the owners.

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Every year passes but the lessons should always be carried to the future

Sipa Pilipinas (Chieffy Caligdong)

At the recently concluded Long Teng Cup 2011 held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Chieffy’s hard work paved the way for the Azkals’ 2nd place finish in the tournament. Gaining 5 points from a win against Macau and 2 draws against Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Philippine football team raised its rank compared to the 3rd place finish on the last year’s inaugural edition of this tournament.

Photo by Fritz Gerald Dalida

If you think that Azkals is all about its “good looking” members in the likes of the Younghusband siblings, Phil and James (which I do not agree), look closely and you will find a more brilliant gem in the small but terrible Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong. This Azkal striker may not have the face of the Younghusbands or the abs of Etheridge, but his skills and talent are incomparable. A native of Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, the small guy proved that being an Azkal is not all about star material packaging but a “kungfu hussle” football skill.

At the Long Teng Cup 2011, after collecting 4 tournament goals (2 against Hong Kong and 2 against Macau), Chiefy was awarded the Golden Boot Award, given to the top scorer of the tournament. This is another accomplishment to his football career and another boost of inspiration to those aspiring future Azkal members.

This should give a signal to all young Filipino football player that you don’t need to be raised abroad where football is a major game, to be one of the bests. All you need is determination and passion for the sport. The dedication and pride to be the best not only for yourself but for the country as well. And Chieffy is a good example of that, 100% Pinoy, full of skills and talent.

And that is the real pinoy hero; you are Bidang Pinoy, Bida ka ng Pilipinas, Emilio “Chieffy” Caligdong. Push for more pride and glory, and continue to strike the Philippines’ Goal for a brighter football future.

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Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. - Paul Bryant

And That Was History


Photo by Ginalyn Gonzalvo

After not winning the game in Mohammad Al-Hammad Stadium in Kuwait last July 24 against the mighty Kuwaiti Al-Azraq Football team for the Leg 1 of the Round 2 2014 World Cup Qualifiers, the AZKALS are back home to play the Leg 2.

Last night in the hope of upsetting the Kuwaiti team and clinching the Round 2 to advance for the group stages, the Philippine Football Team ‘The Azkals’ fight it all out in front of a wet and wild home crowd. Staged again in the 13,000 seater Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, the Azkals played hard ball in the hope of beating the powerhouse Kuwait. Shouldering the pressure of winning, the team pressed on and put more solid defenses on the numerous attacks by the arabs. Several attempts from the Kuwaitis have been cleared by the Azkal defenders and the golie Neil Etheridge.


Photo by ABS-CBNnews.com

With the speed and nice ball handling and coordination by the Kuwaitis, the Azkals also had a hard time attacking the goal. Several offenses have been fired by the Pinoys but the Kuwaiti team also showed great defense clearing all those attacks. But it was the long range kick to the goal by Staphan Schrock that ROCKED the stadium and give the Azkals a burning hope for the win. With Philippines leading 1-0 at the half, they continued pressing the defense and looking for opening to launch another attack to score. But it seems Kuwaitis are really skillful, after the 61st minute of the game the pinoy crowd suddenly went silent with the goal from Yousef Nasser of Al-Azraq equalizing the game to 1-1 (and 1-4 on aggregate).

With just minutes more to play, it is then highly impossible for the Azkals to snatch a win, more over when another goal was scored by the Kuwaitis on the 83rd minute resulted from an own goal by Rob Gier who failed to kick the ball away from the goal. And on that moment the history has ended. Our quest for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is now over.


Photo by Danny Pata (gmanews.tv)

We may be victorious to advanced for the world cup dream but what’s more important is that we were able to reach round 2 this time. No Philippine team ever, has reached this far and it’s far far great achievement already. Another fact is that we were able to give a great match against the more skilled and much higher ranked team in the world of football. Imagine Kuwait is ranked 92nd and we’re at 162nd and yet the Kuwaitis still had a hard time playing with us, and with that I am still proud of our team Azkals. They have brought another inspiration to our country and to our people.

Because of them we now have another sport to cheer, to watch and to unite for, and that’s more than enough to ask for. Because of football a nation who is clouded with political divisions and even religious animosity has been united even just for couple of hours. Because of PINOY FUTBOL Filipinos are now in full support of fellow Filipinos. And because of the Azkals we are more proud now that we are Filipinos, because we know in unity we can achieve something that seemed to be impossible then. So keep the fire burning, keep the hopes alive, continue the battle, prepare for the fight. Pinoys we are proud of each other, WE BELIEVE


Photo by ABS-CBNnews.com
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“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

“Victory isn’t defined by wins or losses. It is defined by effort. If you can truthfully say, ‘I did the best I could, I gave everything I had,’ then you’re a winner.” - Wolfgang Schadler

The Firsts

The firsts are always the sweetest and most remembered thing for everyone. In History we had First landing on the moon, First Olympic game, First People Power and many others. On a personal level there are first kiss, first crush, first relationship and many other firsts which still and will always occupy some part of our memories.

Just like other first, last Sunday (July 3) was also marked by different firsts. The Philippines’ first ever entry to the 2nd round of World Cup qualifiers and the first female Prime Minister of Thailand.

The LUCKy YingLUCK.

Last Sunday the Thai people have spoken, they have elected their first female Prime Minister in history. Defeating the current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva (who on the later day of the election already conceded to his opponent), Thailand is now back into the hands of another Shinawatra in the person of Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. With her Pheu Thai party getting 265 seats in the parliament, leaving only 159 for the democrats, Yingluck was proclaimed as the First Female Prime Minister of Thailand. She now shares the stage with other First Female Leader accross asia like Philippines’ Corazon Aquino and Indonesia’s Megawati Sukanoputri.

With the comeback of another Shinawatra into Thailand government, it now poised a question on whether it’s a vindication over Thanksin’s ouster. Many have said that the Thai people are really more favorable to Thaksin’s rule despite allegations of corruption. The other question is, will this be a signal for Thaksin’s comeback from his exile? And will he be given amnesty for all the allegations and cases leveled at him?

Well as to what was observed Thailand’s politics is also one interesting item to watch for. If we thought that it’s only here in the Philippines that kinship politics reign, well we’re not alone and I think it’s an ASIAN culture.

The Quest

“When it rains, it pours”. That was proven last Sunday on the 2nd leg of Round 1 World Cup 2014 qualifying match between the Philippine Football team Azkals against The Sri Lankan Red Braves. Playing at home, the Azkals get the greatest boost for them the win the round 1 and qualify for the round 2 of competitions. This is indeed a sweet victory since this is the first time in history of Philippine Football that our national team will be able to advance to the 2nd round. The rain didn’t hinder the wild roaring crowd in the newly refurbished Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila to cheer and support the team. Likewise it also didn’t cause much of a problem to the players because as the rain falls, goals poured, which nailed the Lankans into 4-0 match.

This victory is sweet not only for the win but for uniting the whole nation again. Now we have another sport to cheer and support aside from Pacman and boxing. The win should also be acknowledged to the efforts of De La Salle University who helped in renovating the Rizal Stadium into a world class football field. Years before, the stadium has been only used for track and field events because of the condition of the football field. But because of the conscientious efforts of Philippine Sports Commision and De La Salle, it was resuscitated into life and became word class football field again.

It really goes to show that when all are united into one goal nothing is impossible. We just need to believe that we can, and work together towards achieving it. As what the Azkaleros United slogan says, LOUD and PROUD, WE BELIEVE.

Now that our team is on for the 2nd round against the stronger Kuwait Al-Azraq, let’s continue to pray, believe and support the Azkals. Let us show the Kuwaitis, what Pinoy unity is all about. Let us show them the biggest roar loud and proud the Azkaleros way. So just WAIT there KUWAIT we’ll give you a battle. And we will brace for another first, a first round 2 win.
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“A first will always be the sweetest, but not doing a follow through won’t lead us to the second”

Shake and Shout

For the past weeks and months, we have witnessed how the earth moved and shaked our minds. We were moved and touched by the tragedy that strucked those countries affected by the calamity. Dito sa Pinas, we have also experienced some magnitude 7.0 quake last Wednesday traced from Lubang Island in Mindoro. And last night another earthquake was recorded, this time in Myanmar and Northern Thailand registering intensity 7.0.

To many Pinoy’s concern, that was the night before the crucial game of the Philippine Football Team ASKALS. Marami ang nabahala sa kalagayan nila at marami ang nangamba na baka may mangyaring masama knowing they are in Myanmar that time and will be playing the next day. But news reports came that they are all in good condition and that Pinoy “FUTBOL” fans should not worry. In fact, the team attributed the quake as a sign of a big win the next day.

True enough, the sign was immortalized, as the AZKALS created another huge quake of celebration for winning the game against the Bangladesh Bengal Tigers today in Myanmar’s Aung San Stadium. The team came in fighting form as it’s a do or die game for them. They cannot afford a loose or even a draw, they badly need to win to qualify to the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 game proper. With the offensive game plan slated by the able German Coach Weiss, AZKALS go for the attack early on, giving a hard time for the Bengals to attempt at the goal. The roar came in 41st minute of the game when Ian Araneta scored a goal to give the team a 1-0 lead. Pinoys over twitter shouted and celebrated because its a clear indication sa pagpasok naten sa main tournament ng AFC Challenge Cup, we need to goal and ayun na pinagbigyan tayo ng 1 goal.The first half ended with the AZKALS leading 1 goal over the opponent.

At the start of the 2nd half, the team continued to dominate the game, clearing every opportunity for the Bengals, and on the 54th minute, muling niyanig ng AZKALS ang stadium sa goal ni Angel Aldeguer Girado (who said he cannot fill in the shoe of the injured Phil Younghusband). Pinoy crowds (over the stadium and twitter) again celebrated as the team continues to seal a slot for the main challenge cup. Sa puntong yun, tanaw na tanaw na talaga ang pagkapanalo ng team pero hindi pa rin sila nagpabaya and again on the 80th minute Aldeguer-Girado scored another goal to give the team a much safer lead of 3-0. And that score remained until the game ends and the AZKALS were proclaimed as the winners which indicates a slot on the AFC challenge cup main tournament in 2012.

Philippine FUTBOL has really come of age. It became another source of national sports pride for the country. Bringing inspiration to a country who gets a lot of inspiration from celebrities and sports heroes. They have proven that with Pinoy’s, given the teamwork and great faith everything will be possible. That we can dominate every game provided we work as one team, aiming for the same goal of bringing honor to our country. Sana’y hindi lang ito isang hype or fad na after several instances ay lilipas. Sana’y magpatuloy ang suporta ng lahat hindi lamang sa football ngunit sa lahat ng sport kung saan ang ating mga atleta ay nakikipaglaban para sa karangalan ng ating bayan.Isa rin itong pagmumulat sa ating pamahalaan na sana’y magbigay ng tamang suporta mga atletang lumalaban na dala ang pangalan ng ating bayan. Proper support from the proper government agencies are badly needed by these athletes. Although there are generous private sponsors who are helping these teams, the government should not forget they responsibilities in promoting and supporting sports in the country.

To the AZKALS, thank you for the great job, you made us Pinoy’s proud. To my fellow AZKALEROS and fellow Pinoy sports fan, let us congratulate ourselves for the great support we have given, We are all part of the game and we also won like them. See you on the next games.

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“When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes areality.” – Joe Paterno

*Credits to the owners of the photos courtesy of ABS-CBNnews.com, Yahoo Sports and Philstar.com

A Week of Mixed Emotions

The Mourning

This week started as an ordinary week for everyone. In the world of politics the same is happening with the ongoing investigation of the House of Representative and the Senate on the AFP corruption allegations on the merits of alleged bogus plea bargaining agreement of Gen. Carlos Garcia. Although there are new exposes and evidences coming up and new names implicated, it was not until tuesday Feb 8,2011 that the country was again shocked by a big news. Yes it was the 51st birthday of the president but the shocking news isn’t about him but the one allegedly involved in the corruption in AFP, the former AFP Chief of staff and DND Sec. Angelo Reyes who was found lying and blooded on his mother’s grave in Loyola Memorial Park Marikina. Official reports confirmed that the late general committed suicide by a gun shot on his chest damaging his heart.

The suicide incident followed amidst the ongoing senate and house of representative investigations on the alleged corruption in the AFP which implicates Angie Reyes as one who benefited from such. People close to him are implying the the investigation caused him so much shame and humiliation that led to him taking his own life. One of his close friends Rex Robles said he was able to talk to the former Sec during the course of the Senate investigation and told the he is very down and depressed at how the investigation went thru. He felt he was being singled out and that it was intended to character assasinate him. But the more damaging is his fear that his family will soon get involved.
Up to now the family and his close allies are still puzzling what really transpired that led to his suicide, because they knew the him as strong person and would not easily resort to being suicidal. Angelo Reyes will be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and expected to be given the 19-gun salute as honor for his being former AFP chief and Sec.of Nationa Defense.

The Celebration

Just 2 days after the death of Angelo Reyes the gloomy news in the country was transformed into a festive and celebrating mood for the Pinoy everywhere. This is because the rising sports favorite Azkals won over the Mongolian team. Panaad Stadium in Bacolod is jam packed as Filipino Futbol fans cheered for our very own Azkals. With the inception of new coach Hans Micheal Weiss, the team is expected to be more on offensive attacks and continuing to solidify its defense.

The fans were not dismayed as the team played good ball on the field. on the 42nd minute of the game, the crowd went wild as the Azkals got their first goal courtesy of #13 Chieffy Caligdong. Fans over at Panaad and everyone watching on television celebrated the goal that went so precise under the legs of the Mongolian goalie. First half ended with 1-0 score in favor of the Azkals.

At the 2nd half, PH team’s defense continue to dominate the Mongols as they’ve got only 2 goal attempts compared to our team’s 8 goal attempts (2 successful). On the 61st minute of the game another goal could have been marked for the Azkals courtesy of James Younghusband but the referee waive it due to hand ball violation. But on the 93th minute seconds away from the final buzzer, Panaad goes screaming again as the crowd and fan favorite Phil Younghusband scored the 2nd goal for the team. This sealed in the Azkals win over the Mongolian team for the 1st leg of the pre-qualifying games of the AFC Challenge Cup. Panaad Stadium was highlighted by the fireworks display after the game and victory celebration was expected to came after in Barotac Nuevo, Bacolod to celebrate the team’s win. Next stop for the Azkals is their game in Mongolia, hope they will win again in this next game.

This week is really a roller coaster of emotions but as they always say we Pinoys are very resilient, we can adopt to anything that come our way, may it be sad news or good news. Like this week’s events, at the onset we were shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Angie Reyes, thereafter we were brought to high elation and festive mood by the victory of the Azkals.

It was really an emotionally charged week for our country, but the more important thing is, we should not forget that no matter how bad the news that is bannering in our eyes there will always be good news that will flatter our hearts and mind.

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“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day” – Author Unknown