Did Nepal Reawaken Fans or Haters?

Haters, be gone! After the Azkals lost the friendly game against Singapore (or even before that), it seemed as though the haters once again had the loudest voices. I think that it is foolish and unreasonable for people to put down the players and fans following a loss or start a contrived, juvenile “rivalry” between basketball and football. These are examples of woolly thinking perpetuated by haters. Shallow and ill-informed, such opinions simply hint at insincere support and the absence of a sense of sportsmanship. It’s not like the Azkals didn’t want to win—they wanted to, obviously—but in any sport, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You learn from mistakes and you don’t let failure define you.

This isn’t a match analysis of the recent game against Nepal; Cedelf Tupas, Mike Limpag, and Roy Moore did a brilliant job with that. This is my attempt to encourage everyone to support the Azkals with conviction and restore your faith in them. If there’s anything you want to share, like why you hate the Azkals, then explain yourself. And for goodness’ sake, if you’re going to speak your mind online, I challenge you not to hide behind the cloak of anonymity. Don’t be a coward. Don’t be yellow. Seriously, though, I’ve never come across a reasonable opinion grounded on hate.

When the Azkals outplayed and trounced Nepal, 4–0, on October 11th at Rizal Memorial Stadium, it became obvious that any disparaging remarks, at least for a moment, were suppressed. The Azkals beat Nepal, a team ranked 31 spots higher than the Philippines, with the Azkals clearly dominating the pitch and leaving their opponents with no goals to their credit. Even a hater has to admit that that victory was undeniably a result of true talent and sheer determination. Did you see Dennis Cagara? Weren’t you blown away by his performance? I was. You can say that good luck may have played a role in the victory, but a team does not get to 4–0 on superstitious attributions alone. The Azkals will arguably always have something to prove, but they aren’t afraid of proving themselves and stepping up to the plate. I think the fans are the ones who should prove themselves: How willing are you to put your support behind the team in good times and in bad?

“Individually, they’re great, but collectively, they don’t produce the desired effect.” In my opinion, this is a reasonable comment or observation, but don’t assume that no one is doing anything about it. Some players came from other countries and play for different clubs. Training together to improve that cohesion is apparently difficult and takes time. But the team’s manager, coach, and staff always try to make sure that there are a few days of training with the team so that everything is solid and everyone is on the same page in time for the next match. I hope people notice that despite the lack of intense, regular training together, they always play to win.

Since the Azkals won the last game of the year, I’m pretty sure they’ve won the hearts of the public again. The friendly game was symbolic and impressive. For the Younghusbands, playing passionately that day was their way of paying tribute to the memory of their late mother. For the rest of the team, it was a special chance to end the season on a high note. All of their efforts this year were summarized by that wonderful success over Nepal. Next year will be even more amazing and memorable. I know that we are going to make history again.

I urge everyone to keep in mind that the Azkals are the ones who play the beautiful game—not you, not me. Winning and losing are part of that game. They know that they shouldn’t play exhibition football even if it’s a friendly. They know that they are there to win, to put up a fight no matter what. The winning attitude is already there, but what they also need is for us to believe in them. You can’t just turn on them because they lost a game or because someone said they had become lazy, big-headed, stuck-up players. When you choose to become a fan, it should transcend losses, rumors, everything. End of story.

3 thoughts on “Did Nepal Reawaken Fans or Haters?

  1. astig!!! Haters are going to hate, maybe because they are afraid to hope? who knows…. Those who are willing to support the team, win or lose, know that this journey will be a bumpy one. There will be laughter & tears, but those who really support know that at the end of the day, all that hard work has paid off and the team has improved by leaps & bounds. Not only that, the Azkals have given us reason to hope and cheer. The true supporters know that the Azkals not only represent the country in football, they represent the country itself. Like all other athletes do when they compete. As a spectator, I’m proud to be a Filipino represented by men willing to go through sacrifices just to play for the country!

    Now, haters, what have you done for your country? What have you sacrificed?

    GO AZKALS!!!

  2. I’m a Chelsea fan. And even though we lose sometimes (often to Man. U), I’m still a die hard fan. I’m a Filipino-American and to have a team like the Azkals represent the Philippines, I’m more than happy with what they have accomplished. These “haters,” like you said in your article, often form their unwanted opinions based on the players’ mixed heritage. But personally, and as a sports buff in both American football and universal football, whatever race you are does not define an individual and the talent they possess on the field. On an American Football sense, my team the Baltimore Ravens have made the playoffs three years in a row, only to lose in eventuality to another team. Yet my passion and drive as a fan runs thick and I would never jump ship because “RAVENS” have become a trademark in our household and watching them play has become a tradition.

    Slowly but surely, the Azkals are also beginning to take root in my family, much like the Baltimore Ravens. Watching livestreaming through a laptop connected to the big screen, the Younghusbands, Etheridge, Caligdong, Guirado are favorites amongst our family members. Personally, Dennis Cagara has climbed up on my list as an ideal athlete.

    All in all though, I think that the recent losses of the Azkals shed light on who the real fans are. I would rather be part of a community of fans wherein no one is a bandwagoner, but a die hard fan who lets the coaching staff and players work things on their own with very minimal questioning on the side.

    Finally, with regards to crab mentality, it isn’t a “Filipino” thing like most conclude. It’s on a per-individual basis. These individuals fear change in the sporting atmosphere and are very closed-minded when it comes to thinking and dreaming big. All Philippines sports win some and lose some. No individual sport is spared from that fact. So to bring down one team, yet hold another on a pedestal is somewhat ironic.

    But to wrap things up, Smart Gilas, Volcanoes, Malditas, Azkals, etc. no longer have to prove themselves because they have already done so in their commitments to the country and its people. I for one salute ALL of these athletes. I also like knowing that these athletes have haters because every win and every step in the right direction is a slap in the face for all these detractors.


  3. Very well said! I share your sentiments exactly. I can’t understand all these haters and the need to bring down our fellow Filipinos such as the Philippine Azkals. I can only surmise that these haters are so full of self-loathing and self-hate that they cannot find it in their hearts to be able to appreciate the efforts of others and/or their success. Such an attitude reflects poorly on those people. They predicate their support on success and become spiteful in the face of failure or a defeat. You wouldn’t want these people in your corner, they will flee at the first sign of trouble or hardship.

    Kudos to the real supporters who understand what the Azkals have been able to achieve in such a short time. Through thick and thin we will be there to support the Philippine national football team, both in times of pain and in glory. If one understands football and knows the state of Philippine football just a few years ago, you will appreciate how much progress Philippine football has been made in such a short time, thanks to the Azkals and their hard efforts to represent our country and our people with pride.

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