when the Azkals rage is stilled – a response

Meet and Greet the Azkals Team

Image by budiputra via Flickr

This is a response to Mr. Manolo Inigo’s column entitled “When the Azkals rage is stilled” which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Dear Mr. Inigo, thank you very much for ventilating your concerns over the decision to hold the World Cup qualifying game of the Philippine Azkals on July 3rd against Sri Lanka at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Rest assured that we are mindful of the expenses that will be incurred in the hosting of this game.

We would like, however, to correct the impression that the funds to be used to prepare for the game will be that of our hard-earned taxpayers. The Philippine Football Federation (PFF), which is a private non-profit organization, will be investing in the refurbishment of Rizal Memorial using funds which have generously been provided to us by our private sector partners who like us believe in the potential of the Filipino in eventually competing on the world stage in the sport of football.

We would also like to assure you that the decision to hold the World Cup qualifying game in Manila was not made on a whim. Several other potential host cities and provinces were considered during the selection process.

We are and will continue to be grateful to the city of Bacolod and the province of Negros Occidental for being gracious hosts of the Asian Challenge Cup qualifier at the Panaad Stadium. It is, however, also important to bear in mind that as we strive to gain a foothold in the consciousness of the Philippine sporting public, it is only proper that we consider other deserving locations for hosting events like this.

The Azkals are not ours; they belong to the Filipino people who they continuously strive to ably represent. As such, it is our obligation to share them with as many of our countrymen as possible by holding their matches at various locales. Panaad and other sites in the Philippines will continue to be considered for future fixtures of the Azkals as well as the other national football teams.

We, at the new PFF, are more than aware that the opportunity that we have at hand to promote the development of football in the country may pass us by if we do not consciously and judiciously build on the success of the Azkals. It is with this in mind that we have made the decision to invest in facilities that will allow us to attract other countries to play in the Philippines for “friendlies”. At this stage of our development, it is quite difficult to do so given the state of our facilities. We will within reason and again with the backing of our corporate sponsors continue to invest what we can to upgrade our facilities. It is in line with this that it is just but natural to fund the refurbishment of a facility in the capital of the country.

We are not blind to the hardships that our nation and people face.  In fact, we hope that a successful result in our tie with Sri Lanka can provide a unifying activity for our people to cheer for both team and country.  And, as mentioned, we will strive to provide this venue without totally relying on taxpayer funds.

Corporate sponsorship does demand an adherence to certain governance standards to ensure the continued support of these generous donors. We have begun making changes to the PFF, as an organization, to promote efficiency in the way we do things while at the same time instituting financial controls to ensure transparency and accountability within PFF.  These efforts have also been undertaken with the assistance of our corporate supporters and volunteers who have graciously shared with us not just their financial wherewithal but also their knowledge and expertise, their time and even their personnel.  This is in line with our bid to professionalize the PFF.

The PFF has no choice.  It will only be able to continue to attract corporate sponsorship if these generous organizations believe that their money is being put to good use.  The PFF is a non-profit organization. Our ability to promote and develop the sport will largely depend on our ability to engender trust and confidence among our backers.  It is imperative that we do this because the sustainability of the gains we have made will only be achievable through an honest to goodness grassroots program.

Developing a sustainable grassroots program will take time, effort and money. If the PFF cannot attract long-term support from those who support it now, we will never achieve our aim of finding future Azkals on a consistent basis.

Mr. Inigo, these are building blocks to building a professional and responsible organization.  We will make mistakes along the way but we will learn from these mistakes. You do not have to take what is written here at face value, we invite you to visit us at PFF and see for yourself what we have begun to do. Hopefully by doing so, you will come to realize that we are working this hard to ensure that the Azkals rage will never be stilled.

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10 Comments on “when the Azkals rage is stilled – a response”

  1. Craig Burrows says:

    A very impressive response but also respectful. Thank you PFF for the lead you are taking and the courage you are showing, you are inspirational.

  2. Jeff says:

    I don’t know why Mr. Inigo suddenly became ‘concerned’ with football affairs. I don’t want to sound snobbish but, can he just stick to his beloved basketball and boxing?

    We the football fanatics have been waiting for such a long time for the sort to gain some grounds and become popular here, when it does happen, all these pessimistic people come out and under the cloak of concern brings the sport down. Typical Pinoy crab mentality.

    • melvs doroman says:

      He is a jerk.As usual crab mentality that’s why the PI can’t get anywhere because of people like him.Doesn’t he know the Azkal’s are playing for the PRIDE and GLORY of thier contry?They are not being paid for it,i take my hat’s off to Dan Palami and the PFF.So Please just writ about your Basketball and Boxing and leave the Azkals alone.WE don’t need writers like you.

    • criticaleye2 says:

      mr. doroman, thank you for caring enough to comment. let us, however, respect mr. inigo’s right to comment – misguided as it may seem to us. let us hold firm and try to rise above the criticisms and put downs that are as we say – part of the game. we will make mistakes along the way and respond to constructive criticism and educate those who may not know any better. let us use this opportunity and attention to expand consciousness of our sport. let us not fight the negative perceptions with vitriolic responses that will only serve to drive away potential supporters. we will be humble but we will respond responsibly to attacks for we know that the force of our ideas and our passion for the game are what will take us to where we need to go. we, who love football, have borne with neglect, corruption and the lack attention for so long but let us try to respect those who may not understand “the beautiful game”. kayod lang tayo. salamat!

  3. angelchess_20 says:

    akala ko ang homecourt nila is panaad talaga?
    sana they won’t change it….many ppeople knew that panaad is the homecourt sana wag naman nilapaaasahin ung maga tao like me i was soo happy when they said their will be a home court game …..and herd from the news that is it rizal stadium or panaad i was shocked and got sad i knew that maliit na lang ung chance para dito sa panaad,…..i have a friend who told me mag susumer job sya para makabili nang gift sa azkals sabi ko malabo na and she got sad…..

    • criticaleye2 says:

      Cherise, pagpaumanhin mo na at kailangan kasi bigyan natin ng chance yung sa ibang bahagi ng bansa na mapanood live ang Azkals. Ilonggo din ako pero ang Azkals ay hindi lang para sa atin pero para sa buong bansa. Sana ho maintindihan niyo ang desisyon na ito. Puwede ako mag-arrange ng autographed shirt signed by your favorite Azkal at para na rin sa kaibigan mo. Sana tanggapin mo ang alok na ito para na ring pagbawi ng disappointment mo at para malaman mo na mahalaga sa amin ang suporta niyo. Salamat.

    • Angelo Zaratan says:

      uhh una sa lahat, home stadium po ang tawag, hindi court gaya ng sa Basketball. At noong simula pa lang po at hanggang ngayon Rizal Memorial Statdium ang declared and official home stadium ng Azkals ayon sa FIFA records. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippines_national_football_team
      next, wala naman po silang pinapaasa. At isa pa, maganda rin na may rotation ang home games ng Azkals para makilala sila ng buong bansa. Iisipin ng iba na lagi na lang Panaad, pano naman yung iba? Kaya wag tayo malungkot sa kung anu pa mang desisyon ng PFF about our home game. Let’s support them with spirits up kahit saan pa sila.

  4. candy says:

    I hope na sa Panaad na lang ulit yung game, sobrang sinuportahan sila ng mga taga Negros and most of the time nasa Manila naman sila, once lang nga sila dito naka punta and ito lang ulit ung chance na makita ulit sila ng mga taga Negros who’ve been supporting them all the way nung game nila.

  5. rhaymond torres says:

    discussions like these only mean one thing. that the azkals & PFF are making the headlines, may it be praise or criticism, constructive or otherwise.
    on the other hand, i second craig’s comment. it only proves to show that PFF means business in rebuilding pinoy futbol. something i never reckoned happening in my lifetime. as a fan of the sport, i’m still pinching myself every now and then just to let all of these (football’s popularity in pinas) sink into me. having played the sport in the dark days of pinoy futbol, all of these buzz is still surreal to me. thanks for the reorganized PFF. mabuhay kayo!

  6. Con Yap says:

    I actually have mixed emotions about having this sports played in Manila. We like it having here in Panaad. The whole Negros Occidental and Bacolod were really all out when it comes to supporting our Azkals. I agree that every place should have its chance to watch the game but it kind of get me thinking that why Manila kaagad?

    Having it in the provinces would really boost the support to the Azkals and, at the same time, it becomes an instrument to promote the local tourism. After all, Manila is not the whole Philippines.

    Kung bibigyan ko ng malisya tong consideration to have the game held at the Rizal stadium, I’m sure that the rest of the games will not reach the other provinces. The future games will get stuck at the Rizal Stadium

    But then, I’m not in the position to even complain because I know the PFF and the sponsors, including the Azkals, are doing their best to bring pride to the country.

    Hmmm… just a little suggestion because I know this will merit the whole country too. Kindly teach our Azkals to sing the national anthem. I read in an article that some of them don’t even know how to sing the Pambansang Awit. They should know. After all, they represent the country.

    Anyway, I’m wishing all the best to the PFF for doing a great job and to our Azkals as well!


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