THE Azkals fans who have long waited for the chance to see members of the Philippine National Football team in person might need to deal with the team’s special request on their stay in Cebu.
According to an official of the hotel that they will be staying at, the national squad requested for privacy during their short visit to the city, saying they wanted to keep a low profile.
“They want everything kept undercover. They do not want people to know where they are staying so there won’t be any welcome streamers for our special guests and we will not confirm any inquiries about their stay,” said the official.
With the team’s previous experience of fans swarming around them, they wanted their stay in Cebu to be peaceful as they wanted to spend most of their time relaxing after their previous trips, games and practices.
The Azkals have dealt with wild fans who chase them all over the country and stalk them like going into their hotel rooms or suddenly showing up at the airport.
“This is something the Azkals are trying to avoid,” said the source.
As an added security, the Azkals will be escorted by members of the Philippine National Police and no random person, fan or even the media can come up to the players. The hotel will also be swarming with police officers.
The hotel official said they had instructions to ban the local media from entering the resort’s premises but a representative from the team, Ace Bright, denied this.
The fans, however, do not need to stalk as they will still get a chance to see the Azkals in person as the team set aside one day from their five-day visit for a mall tour at Ayala Center Cebu on May 30 at 4 to 6 p.m.
The players and coaching staff are expected to arrive this morning from Iloilo after their practice game with the Koreans and will go straight to the hotel.
They are given the entire day to relax.
Crowd favorites Phil and James Younghusband and Anton Del Rosario will arrive later in the week after attending to commitments in Manila.
The three will, however, catch up with the team’s activities in the last three days.
For their Cebu visit, the Azkals will be doing a commercial shoot for a brand of painkillers but they will be present at the Aboitiz Football Field in Mandaue for a series of clinics and one and a half day’s training.
On the 28th, they will be expected to hold football clinics for kids below 13 years old from chosen football clubs of the Cebu Football Association, who had their summer clinics.
CFA president Richard Montayre said the Azkals are also invited to grace the last day of the Cebu Amateur Football Cup National Interclub Football competitions. They, however, aren’t sure if the Azkals could attend.
“CAFC invited them but we are not sure if they can make it because of their very busy schedule,” said Montayre.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 25, 2011.