Why I’m happy with the Azkals’ 4-0 loss to UAE
By Bob Guerrero | The Passionate Fan – Sun, Nov 10, 2013 2:55 AM PHTWe were courageous to even arrange this match.
Kudos to Dan Palami and the Azkals management for having the guts to face UAE. The home side on Saturday night was 66 places above us on the world rankings, and it showed. But in taking on the challenge we proved that we value long-term development over short term victories. Playing teams like Chinese Taipei and Pakistan is good for morale and fine to build confidence. But meeting sides like UAE is what drives us to be better.I'll say it again: there is no shame in this loss.
This is a team from a mature Footballing nation with lots of resources. There must be tens thousands of Emirati kids who receive quality training and play lots of competitive matches on superb facilities feeding a highly competitive (and lucrative) pro league. Our system simply pales in comparison, even with the insertion of the overseas-born Filipinos.
We need to be patient in our Footballing journey towards the level of the UAE, and that patience should be measured not in years, but maybe decades.We are very lucky to have Ed Sacapaño.
The Army man on loan to Global proved his worth once again with, how many? Six saves? In my opinion he played as well as he did against Singapore last year in Cebu. His quick reactions prevented an embarrassing scoreline against a defense that was under pressure almost from the opening whistle.
Sacapaño makes up for his small stature with sound positioning and a calm borne of years in National team duty. He faced up to the fusillade of attempts with honor. None of the goals were his fault.
I was hoping Patrick Deyto could get some playing time but I understand coach Weiss leaving Ed in to finish the game. It's just unfortunate that I can't see Deyto getting any minutes against India unless there is an injury or a big rout.
I loved the spirit Pinoy fans in the stadium
. They came out in droves, cooked up a great Mexican wave, and egged the crowd on with shouts of “Go Azkals” as the second half got underway.
Two years ago the Philippines played Singapore in a friendly, a 2-0 loss, and one of my friends Kaye Sumanga-Mapa was in the stands. I won't forget what Kaye, who lives in Singapore, said after watching the match with other Filipino friends.
“It was great to sing the national anthem again.”
The Lupang Hinirang is something we Filipinos living here take for granted. But not for the millions of OFWs who toil abroad. It's a symbol of national pride that these heroes don't get to sing nearly as often as they'd like. The game gives them an outlet.The Philippines lost on the pitch but won big time in the stands.
We should keep on going back to the Middle East to give our countrymen and countrywomen moments where they can express their patriotism.I thoroughly enjoyed watching UAE
. Their slick passing sequences were a delight, and the cultured little flicks and feints scattered all throughout the match were a treat. My Man of the Match goes to Omar Abdulrahman, who was everywhere causing problems. The best goal was Ismail Matar's second-half piledriver to make it 3-0 off a sublime first touch. I love the Azkals, but I love Football too, and I like seeing it played well.
This isn't just any Gulf team, it's the champion team of the Gulf. Any ASEAN side, including Thailand, would struggle against them.
However, our team is aging.
Weiss went with the veteran duo of Rob Gier and Juani Guirado in central defense, with Ray Jonsson at right back. In front of the line was Jerry Lucena, and in the back was Ed Sacapaño. All are at least 32 years old. Starter Chris Greatwich is 30, and Chieffy Caligdong, who came on as a sub, is 31.
The fourth goal by Ali Mabkhout was a result of a breakdown in the right side of the defense. The boys probably succumbed to the fatigue of coping with a team that peppered our goal with 29 attempts, 11 on target.
I cannot blame the coach for going with his old reliables against such a potent squad. But young blood badly needs to be injected into the squad. We simply cannot play these guys forever.
My suggestion: arrange a few friendlies next year (perhaps after the Challenge Cup, ideally even before) with teams near our level or a bit below, and start the up-and-coming Azkals like Jerry Barbaso, Amani Aguinaldo, Boiboi Fernandez, Marwin Angeles, Mark Hartmann and others. It's the only way to move forward and give them international exposure. (Especially with the SEA Games participation nixed by the geniuses of the POC.)
The team also desperately needs youth in central defense. The net should be cast wide over the diaspora in Europe and the United States.
There were things bigger than Football on display at the game. While the Azkals offered a moment of silence for Yolanda victims, the UAE organizers offered the proceeds of the match to Down Syndrome awareness. Several folks afflicted with the disorder took to the field with both teams. Football is a beautiful game not just because of its esthetics, but also because it emphasizes our humanity in so many ways
nice article BOB GUERERO a.k.a. the PASSIONATE fan.. any other guys here HAPPY with the 4-0 loss? kindly put your name on the list..