16 March 2011

But were the Azkals truly triumphant?

Recah Trinidad

They have succeeded in painting a triumphant picture of the Philippine Azkals despite a resounding setback in Mongolia Tuesday but one big question lingered.
Happy—but proud enough?
There’s a sketchy report on the actual condition of the national football squad which proceeds to Myanmar despite bowing to Mongolia, 2-1.
A more objective look, however, bared the celebrated Azkals had barely survived.
* * *
The celebration by Mongolia, the winning side, was borne out of genuine triumph.
Team manager Dan Palami himself did not sound truly victorious and admitted they had gunned hard for a win.
A draw, maybe a 2-all stand-off at the final whistle, would’ve served as a perfect goad as the Azkals, by virtue of a higher aggregate, advance to the next stage after snatching a berth in the group qualifying tournament of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup.
* * *
Anyway, if it would help, the Azkals could use a crisp congratulatory message from President Noynoy Aquino, their No. 1 fan.
“Their excellence is not borne out of luck, but of the perseverance that characterizes true athletes,” Aquino said in toasting the Azkals.
Either the President or his writer did not have the luck to watch the match, played in sub-zero conditions.
Majority of those who were able to follow the game live on television, your reporter here included, were clearly stung by the setback.
* * *
The national team’s German coach, Hans Michael Weiss, was honestly direct to the point.
Weis said the team “played only 60 percent” of its full potential.
Like everybody else in the national squad, Weis blamed defeat on the freezing conditions in Ulan Bator.
Manager Palami termed the numbing weather torturous.
* * *
The Azkals would, however, be unfair to themselves if they put the whole blame on the cold weather.
They’ve been propped up by more than enough advance alibis on the road to Mongolia.
But the Azkals often played half-crippled, mainly in defense, due to loose, soft spots in their overall game.
And this lameness—as when there would be no receiver of a clear pass for possible goal—could be remedied only if they soon stopped talking about the weather.
In the first place, how would have James Younghusband sparkled with a curler of a handsome goal in the fourth minute if conditions were truly thatr] impossible?
Speak of breaking the ice in icy conditions.
* * *



  1. Ah, somebody FINALLY speaks sense.
    I thought I was the only one who felt that the weather was such a convenient excuse.

  2. ^^Do you live under a rock or something? It's obvious that the weather was one of the main, if not THE factor which would determine how they would perform and therefore determine what the result would be.

    In fact it's been obvious ever since the draw was made when we found out that we would be playing Mongolia in the play-off round. The only problem was that hype was and still is very high. Because of that there were people who still expected a win, a comfortable win that is and that the weather won't be much trouble. It's ridiculous to say the least. And look what happened, they lost!

    So what this Ricah Trinidad is saying in this article is nothing new or surprising.

  3. Well done to the Azkals for squeezing through - as they will do again in Myanmar - but after March 25 I bet coach Weiss can't wait to get back to Manila to search for some streetdogs with better bite. Remember most of the current squad have trained together virtually continuouly since Bacolod. Did we see any improvement? Nope; slack defense, wayward passing, misfiring attack... all the same old symptoms.
    There's a whole pack of young pups snapping at the Azkals' heels and if Weiss can find a few thoroughbreds among them there will be some very familiar names missing from the next NT team sheet.

  4. I think many are really blinded by the recent success in the Azkals Tiger Cup campaign. The team is not yet so strong to compete with the top teams in South East Asia on a regular basis and it will be very hard to repeat that success. There will always be up and downs.....you can not expect that a before average team becomes a big force in fotoball over night. This needs time and hard work and we shouldn't pressure out team so much. They can now show their real character and strenght when they play in familiar weather conditions. Lets see how they will perform there. For me the key game will be already the opener vs. Myanmar. In case they lose this one I have my doubts that they will be one of the top teams in the group. Even Palastine is ranked lower than the Azkals I regard them as favourites. Even they don't manage to get a spot for the final stage - the important thing is that they will give their best (which I think they will do). Anyway I wish the Azkals all the best and in case they finally can play at 100% all is possible.

  5. @all

    Azkals didn´t play with best players, so please not blame players who didn´t play!

  6. I agree with the others who think that the weather clearly played a major, if not the biggest role in the Azkals' defeat.

    In the national anthem alone, the Azkals were super jittery and could not stop moving (for warmth), while the children who were with them were completely still even in short-sleeved shirts.

    Don't worry, everyone. They will do better in Myanmar...I'm sure of it.

  7. what does recah mean, that J.Younghusband scored a curler? that was a poachers goal!!! C'mon!!! seriously!! watch it. its a rebound goal if you love basketball terms.

  8. to PFSA... 'best players' is pretty meaningless when the 'best' are unlikely to be released by their clubs except for major games. No AFC game is classed as major by FIFA.

  9. There are clubs who would release a player like it will happen with P. Hinrichsen or Algueder. Clubs needs clear schedules when the realease should happen. The AFC list for Mongolia game and AFC challenge cup group stage list had a more political touch so the better performance players were blocked away.
    some fans got aware of the political touch but many are still thiniking the best players were choosen . wrong that´s not true.

  10. Well, like i said in other articles I will buy Weiss excuse this time. However, that they didnt follow a better passing game is something quite difficult to understand. Thats the coach's job to drill into the players consciousness. Does that mean they were thinking of the cold more than the game plan ? We enjoyed enough possession but we only saw glimpses of a passing game which should have killed this game off. arguably, the Mongolians played with more directness than the first game. They challenged us a lot more but by the 70th or so minute, they werent gonna score again. If the referee did his job the score would only be 1-1 and Iam surprised no one is hollering about that non call. The guy was 2 yards offside when the ball was headed on. He may have been onside when the free kick was taken but it was headed on and that touched played him offside. Anyway, we need to understand the team still has a long way to go. So much fan support does not make them stronger. Rankings are nothing once your playing head to head as this game shows as well as the game we had against Vietnam. I like Recah a lot, one of my sport column heroes of old but he is being part of the problem if he thinks we should top this AFC challenge cup group easily.

  11. palestine have two chileans in their team. they are clearly the favourites. 5 years ago they were ranked 115 but because they do not really joing tournaments on a regular basis that ranking fell.

  12. Its time for new sports writers to come in. These old journalists are trying to pass themselves off as experts but the way they read the situation clearly shows they are clutching at straws. I agree it was definitely a poacher's goal. People shouldnt try to give this impression to the public with all these cliches which arent applicable. The responses here shows the public is a lot more intelligent and ahead of the curve compared to the sports writers covering this story. Lets have someone who knows what he is talking about call it the way it happens. He is tryting to write a compelling piece here questioning if we really triumphed but the reality is we are far from being a more superior team and the rankings will not count for one point in the Challenge Cup. We may be a celebrated team but that does not score goals for us. If he had a view of the big picture here I am sure he wouldnt have written this piece. I would stick to basketball and boxing Recah.

  13. Even when the conditions were ideal, we won 2-0. Beaming with confidence from the Suzuki cup campaign, playing in front of a fanatical home crowd with all our players intact, thats all we accomplished. Lets take this reality pill. People should relax and just support the team and realize the problems the team and football is facing. Come down to earth as we are not that strong at the moment and need more time to develop and gel. Theres so many challenges ahead of us. So many players not being able to play due to the lack of a football program to keep the players here in the country for easier selection. Everybody seems to be so far ahead and the expectations are rising too fast than what is realistically doable.

  14. It's good that there are some people who are realistic and can actually see the real picture regarding the national team and Philippine as a whole.

    But try making other people and the media be same. It's practically impossible. They have their heads so far up their own asses, they think things will just fall into place one by one and success will be easy to come by, qualifying for tournaments here and there and so on.