Philippine Azkals

First things first ! I did expect in this whole blog , that I could write a blog in the Football Category about Philippine football. I mean they totally suck before. I witnessed it years back , when Philippines are the favorite whipping boys of the region. I did not expect the Philippines and Football could land in the same category.(I supposedly blog about Bastian Schweinsteiger to be the future Captain of Germany , Or who is better Ronaldo or Messi , Or how Barcelona and Spain plays football beautifully and the Samba Soccer of Brazil )
Neil Etheridge

So what does Philippine National Football Team Nicknamed as “Azkals” (Compare to the flashier “La Furia Roja” of Spain , “A Seleção” for Brazil , and “Die Mannschaft ” for Germany )

WHO ELSE but Filipino fans can think of naming a national football team from an animal as ubiquitous as a street dog?

The Azkals is short for “asong kalye,” Tagalog for street dog, that resilient mongrel found in most Filipino homes. (Yes, a street dog with a home. An askal without a home either ends up in the pound or the cauldron.)

But another sad reality is, Azkals might have home , but they could be called as scavengers in the Philippines world of sport. Due to crazy popularity of Basketball and Boxing. They could be also a scavengers of budget because of the lack of support that is given to them by this non – footballing and newly developed country (Yes we are a newly developed country, but still another foot is on the developing side , which is kinda stupid ). Yeah right. Philippines is basketball playing nation. Even without its international competitiveness(we rule the ASEAN , but not a real contender in Asian level), even without its International success , basketball still enjoys its crazy popularity in the Philippines. From college ball (UAAP & NCCA , especially the war of blue and green(Ateneo – La Salle ) ) To Philippines Basketball Association , and off course the second most popular sporting event in the world the NBA . (nah,, its not sporting event , haha , World Cup is the number 1 , no time to argue here). Filipino’s are still expecting Filipino’s to play in NBA (we got one , Nate Robinson , – yes the one the one that flies over Superman(Dwight Howard) ), to local barangay leagues as well as streetball game(played on a real street, where vehicles pass)

Philippine Football does not have the good fanbase this recent years. Younghusband brothers boost its popularity few years ago. When these Chelsea boys came to Philippines to play football. It was about 5 years ago, when fil – foreign players help boost the national football team (Players mostly came from Iloilo(specifically Barotac Nuevo and Sta Barbara).
After 5 years this day had come. A total glory for the “Azkals” yes they failed to win the AFC Suzuki Cup 2010 , but the Azkals caught the hearts of filipino’s not due there achievement only, but through the heart of playing the beautiful game of football. In 5 years of span , Philippines did not achieve anything material yet(Like championships and Cups , runner up finish on big tournaments) They got eliminated at 2007 Suzuki Cup qualifiers. It was about 2 – 3 years ago when I saw Neil Etheridge practicing at the school grounds of Central Philippine University , together with rest of the national football team. Just watching from the side of there practice , nothing special about Neil Etheridge that time , but noticed only skill that amazed me, his kicking power,its like wow, is this kid only 17 or 18 ? how can’t he kick the ball like that , like I can only the kick the ball half of its power like Neil Etheridge, but during that time , nah,, who else cares about the goalkeeper who can kick the ball , Goalkeepers should have super human reflexes like Iker Casillas. Neil Etheridge was not the starting 1 of the Azkals that time. I remember a site called is made just to update the latest happening of Philippine football during that tournament. After that I can’t find any relevant site about Philippine Football , even the PFF site is not working, come on guys web domains and web developers are just cheap. Well I think that’s azkals way of life. lack of budget.

Anyways I’ve done some research about the Philippine Football history, talking about Philippine Football history , who had a short success on its early years(yes that time Philippine Economy is just second to Japan, A giant in Asia to be exact, look at Philippines now ? well its still giant I guess , I giant house of scoundrel politicians and etc).

We dominate the Far Eastern Games. But when it comes to the history of Philippine football , one name could be mentioned first, who else can forgot about Paulino Alcántara , the one that started the line of Barcelona success until now. You can google about Paulino Alcántara you can find more information about him , as barca legend himself. Paulino Alcántara could be considered as Mythical Players during his stay on Barcelona(few facts about him , all time scorer , and youngest to appear in the club as well as scoring a hat trick at his first appearance at 15 years, 4 months and 18 days) 15 years, 4 months and 18 days ? I can’t believe it either , Mythical Footballers as they said , but who else could be mythical ? Lionel Messi doing his magic at barca at 22 years old ?

But well Paulino Alcántara is not typical filipino footballer from Iloilo. After retiring at football he becomes a doctor at 31 as well as managing Barcelona and Spanish National Team( the La Furia Roja) for a short time.

Other mentionable names that played for this club during ancient times ( haha ancient ? just kidding ) are Manuel Amechazurra and Juan Garchitorena ( yes his the same person Juan Torena – the actor during ancient times , here we go again ancient times. no one seems to remember) , but Garchitorena belongs to prominent Garchitorena clan , he also married to american actress Natalie Moorehead.

Another filipino footballer played for Barcelona’s arch rival Real Madrid is on its museum named Teus

And another trivia , nothing to connect with this Ancient football relics for the Philippines , the father of Julio Iglesias, Jr , Chábeli Iglesias and Enrique Iglesias. Julio Iglesias SR ( who once married to Isabel Preysler – a filipina socialite ) is once a star goal keeper of Real Madrid.

So what is the relate of Julio Iglesias ? to Philippine Football ? none I think , but not zero . I guess more than decades ago , few Filipinos settle at Spain for good. I just been informed that a cousins of my friend who is pure Filipino plays for big youth clubs at spain , Valencia I think ,(haha, is Valencia kinda big ? I guess Spanish La Liga is two horse race , its between Real Madrid and Barcelona) His cousins don’t speak Tagalog and English but speak a little bisaya as my friend said. Well this is third level information , they thought Philippines is all about Manny Pacquiao and Efren Reyes. They did not even know that basketball is popular in the Philippines even though their dad used to be a basketball star during his college days(from the province). What I’m talking here is foreign players at Spain and other countries (who had filinino blood , some of them are pure filipino , its just they don’t speak tagalog or any local dialect ) did not even know that Football Exist in the Philippines.

This could also prove that the Global Pinoy Network (Filipinos exist in every country in the world as they said , not every country , but they think so. )

Here is my short list about filipino footballers that have filipino blood , On list are only the recognizable!

David Alaba (born 24 June 1992 in Vienna) is an Austrian international footballer who plays for Bayern Munich. He plays as a left or central midfielder. The youngest player in the history of the Austrian national team – Filipina Nurse Mother – Austria owns him . haha

Jonathan Alexander de Guzman (born 13 September 1987) is a Canadian-born footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder and is currently playing for RCD Mallorca. Filipino Father – He could be eligible for the national team , despite of representing Under 23 Netherlands at 2008 Beijing Olympics where he scored 3 goals.

Julian de Guzman (born March 25, 1981 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian soccer player of Jamaican and Filipino heritage who currently plays for Toronto FC.

Previously, he played for Deportivo de La Coruña, and was the first Canadian to play in the Spanish La Liga. His younger brother Jonathan de Guzmán currently plays in La Liga as well.- Filipino Father – well his is with the Canadian Football team

Julian de Guzman and Jonathan de Guzman are brothers

Nicholas “Nick” Rimando[1] (born June 17, 1979 in Montclair, California) is an American soccer player who currently plays for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer. – the MVP of MSL – Filipino father – not eligible for Azkals , primary back up at US national soccer team(see I use the soccer team , rather than football team. haha)

Before I failed to mention here is another star , not on men’s soccer but on womens soccer

Natasha Kanani Janine Kai
is an American soccer forward currently playing for Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer and is a member of the United States women’s national soccer team. – Filipino decent

There is lot of Filipino out there in Europe especially on the of football playing specifically Netherlands , Germany and United Kingdom (England Specifically) where most Filipino settle or work !

I’ve been writing this blog for more than 3 hours already. I’m writing ( not writing technically , but typing ) while tweeting . while listening to music , then while I’m writing this , the music is waka waka – by shakira , then next on my playlist is One by U2 . Then something is just landed on my brain, well , I did expect that Philippines and Football could fell in the same category , how about football at world cup ? hmm that could end up in weird stuff category if ever. But World Cup could be far for “Azkals” all we could do is hope. AFC , does not have the mayhem fight for slots like in Europe and South America. But it has Good Footballing nations as well , South Korea and Japan , and maybe the visitor of AFC , who is tired on its own Ocenia continent Australia. South Korea does have international footballers playing at Europe as well Japan, Australia is pretty tough as well. AFC does have Japan , South Korea and Australia , as its top bets at Brazil 2014 , and Maybe automatic qualification for Qatar at 2018 , then 2022 at Russia. The question is , can the Azkals qualified in the World Cup. Its a question that could be answered in the years to come. maybe not on 2014 at Brazil . But Azkals now started to bite and fight against the big dogs of Asean regions. Whipping boys no more. can they continue there success through the years ? its a still a maybe, but I’m hoping that someday Philippines are on the world cup , and I’m cheering for them instead of betting on Netherlands go to finals. and Expecting Spain to new World Champs.

I know Politics in the Philippines is the destructive one , not the constructive one. It ruined every sport that it touches . prime example the well loved Basketball ( the great Schism) , next is Billiards ( another Great Schism , haha) and recently Dragon Boat. Fine I’m okay with basketball. Billiards did have its low moments during the Schism zero world champs , but now Filipino’s are back on track taking 7 spots on top 10 on recent WPA rankings and the World Class Paddlers , the Philippine Dragon Boat Team , was also not bared from these politicking. Then the recent victim is The Philippine Football Team . well Politics is pretty active in the land of “Political Scoundrels”( what term is that ? I don’t know it either . haha )

But as they said , keep the ball flowing , no one runs in the pitch faster than the ball.

Keep on going and paddles up(haha dragon boat ? ) ! Go Azkals !

Philippine Football Team AKA Azkals are enjoying its current popular status such as Social Networking trends from the Social Networking Capital of the World ( Guess what ? its the Philippines ) from twitter to facebook and some other blogs.

Maybe a big part of this Azkals Victory are foreign breed azkals and young coach with the name Simon McMenemy

Simon McMenemy

trending topics on Twitter with the hash tag of #azkals as well Younghusband and Maybe later on Neil Etheridge who has drawn attention from Filipino/Filipina Celebrities (Filipina Celebrities to be exact ) check on twitter who are famous female celebrities tweeting about Neil Etheridge and The Younghusbands( but the two already started modeling I think )

And before everyone forgets about this team, in the next few years. It started all with this line up for Suzuki 2010 Cup

Philippines Squad List
20 CAMCAM, Christopher
22 SACAPAÑO, Eduard
34 PASCUAL, Jose

2 GIER, Robert
3 BARBASO, Jerry
11 BORROMEO, Alexander
12 PAVONE, Gino
15 PALMES, Rey
24 ATIENZA, Michael
25 BERMEJO, Joebel
28 RELUCIO, Kristopher
30 HARTMANN, Matthew

6 GENER, Roel
8 OTT, Manuel
14 FERRER, Mark
17 DE JONG, Jason
19 MARGARSE, Nestorio Jr.
21 JAUGAN, Peter
32 SCHROCK, Stephan

13 CALIGDONG, Emelio
26 BASA, David

No one know if Philippines could repeat what they have done this year.

Not all have played , but I praise the performance of the azkals ETHERIDGE , GIER , BORROMEO , DEL ROSARIO , JONSSON ,GENER, DE JONG, Greatwich , Araneta and The YOUNGHUSBAND’s

Philippines Football Team AKA Azkals should have more International Friendly match to boost its popularity.


  1. Thanks for such an informative post on the Azkals. I am so happy that they made it to the Semi-finals here in Jakarta. Being able to watch them live was such an honor for us. My husband is the football fan, but his passion for the game has rubbed off on me as well.

    I hope they give us more to write about in the AFC!

  2. hala – bira can be our soccer chant. it’s call – response chant popular among the bisaya.

  3. Hala Bira could be a good chant ! like Hala Madrid ! its kinda cool though , some of azkals local players came from iloilo , which is kinda famous for Dinagyang which the main chant is ‘Hala Bira Iloilo’

    • spd
    • February 28th, 2011

    Very well said. All I can say is constant practice makes us perfect. World Cup is not really far from AFC if they are really determined and make World Cup as their goal. I really appreciated what the Younghusband brother’s & others did to the team. It really boost the moral of the young players. Keep the ball movin AZKALS and go for your goal….

    More power to AZKALS

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