Thursday, September 5, 2019

Azkals vs Syria September 2019 Random Thoughts

Just realized it's been quite a while since my last post. 

Work? Family? Maybe a bit of both and more.

Trying to find a way to write more, and no better way than to start by some ramblings on the Azkals game later vs. Syria.

The Younghusbands are not involved today. When was the last time that happened? Hans Michael Weiss was coach, and I believe, they were dropped not because of lack of form (read between the lines).

Do we have the quality to beat Syria? Of course. 

And if we do go on and do well, we will have to thank the Thai Premiere League for keeping our players sharp and giving them quality games week in and week out. (read between the lines as well)

When I first saw how passionate the Thais in their domestic game, I really felt a massive tinge of jealousy. Can we do that here? Not soon, it seems.

That Thai club jerseys aren't expensive in cost meant that I do have a sizeable collection of Buriram and Muang Thong shirts. I think I have to get more soon.

I don't know how many non-football loving Filipinos outside of Bacolod know we have a game later. I would argue it is not substantial.

When even the editor of a major news network is unaware......

Doesn't help also that Gilas is playing (not too well, it seems) in the same week -- takes the attention away from the Azkals?

Then again, the Azkals do tend to thrive when odds are stacked against them. Let's hope this is the case tonight for Mr. Schrock and company.

Speaking of Schrock -- and James Younghusband -- the podcast Across the Line by Chris Greatwich and Cedelf Tupas is a must listen.

Not least because it humanizes the players, gives us an idea of how they are, what their backgrounds were, etc. Go download it!

As for the Azkals vs Syria --- how I wish  I was in Bacolod now, but this passion project of mine, now spanning nearly ten years, may have run its course.

Nonetheless, I am wearing my Azkals jersey to work. I will be in a sports bar later to cheer on the team, and I do hope most of you will do so as well.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Sven Goran Eriksson and Michael Falkesgaard speak before the game against China

Pre-match Press Conference for Philippines vs. China

Michael Falkesgaard

Of course having a head coach and striker having played experience in the Chinese Super League is something the players and the team have a great knowledge to learn from them about China and its players. Being given advice and using it for our advantage is something we need to do for tomorrow.

I think on the pitch its about the game, it's not about where you're from. some of our players are not born in the Philippines but they have the heart of being filipino. we're gonna see on the pitch tomorrow who's gonna win.

Of course there's a lot of Filipinoes here in the UAE and the team have been working a lot for the support we have gotten here. Maraming salamat sa supporta to all our kababayans. It means alot for us and I hope to see them tomorrow and can give us the support tomorrow.

Sven-Goran Eriksson

I've been together with the team since November and we had the Suzuki Cup and we did okay. The players did very well, now its a bigger gap now and the game is very important. We lost to Korea, but we still played very well. We're excited for the next game and the experience is a little bit different. We're not number one in the FIFA rankings, but it's a gamble for football to grow. FOotball will be important in the Philippines. With the players, it's very good, we have many good football players with education from abroad. It's a good team, I like the challenge very much, I look forward for the match tomorrow.

FIrst of all, I hope we don't lose 8-1, we will give china a good match, we will stand up to them. With the players, I don't really know how it works and I never try to learn it but as long as players has a Philippine passport, and if they don't play for another country, they are available to play for the Philippines. Good or bad, I think it's good.

Maybe, a little, but when the match begins tomorrow, it's up to the players. Of course I know some of the players especiaslly Shanghai SIPG, I don't know if they're going to start, I know the other players from Evergrande, I remember playing against them. Today, with all the videos, the scouts travelling around the world, there are no secrets, everyone knows how players play. We have seen China playing many games, a little advantage, yes.

I know Lippi very well. I met him outside before coming in, we have faced many times before. But tomorrow, we are not friends. It's nice to see him I know him since the 1980s I don't know how many matches we have played in Italy and China. He's a good coach, a very good coach and I respect him. I wish him all the best for tomorrow. It's good to see him.

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Photos by: XInhua, Prokerala,

Monday, December 17, 2018

PPL Commissioner Bernie Sumayao: Philippine Premier League to kick off March 2019

Official Statement from Mr. Bernie Sumayao, Commissioner of the Philippine Premier League Football (PPL)

“ I have been informed about the withdrawal of the Davao Aguilas, and have received it with a heavy heart. When an important team departs the league, it is always a cause of concern. However, we have also been approached by a number of teams that have expressed strong interest in joining the PPL. We are currently evaluating the merits of each applicant. When I first approached the PFF about taking over the reins of the Philippine Football League (“PFL”), I knew about the difficult challenges that it was facing. I felt, like most football fans, that the league was at a crossroads. There was no revenue being generated, no national sponsorship, no TV media, limited attendance at the stadiums, numerous restrictions being enforced on fan activity inside the stadiums, and many more factors that would have challenged the very existence of the league. I knew there was no “quick fix”, and that the road to recovery will take some time. I also knew that in order to get back on track, we have to have a more professional and structured approach to operating the league. Most importantly, the league needs to take very good care and listen intently to the concerns of its stakeholders – the Federation, the owners of the teams, the players, and most importantly, the fans. The fans are the fuel that drives the engine. Without the fans, even the most organized league will never survive.”

“ The league will only prosper when we start to understand and implement the concepts of discipline, accountability, responsibility, and unity. These are not merely words, but are a way of life and the path to success. I have stepped in at a very difficult time. It was either witness the decline of Philippine pro football as a distant observer, or start working and do something about it. I chose to do something about it. I also believed that the league should be a concerted effort of the teams that participate in it. This is where it becomes important to have a unified stance, strength in numbers. Where politics need to give way to discipline and compassion. In order for the league to prosper, the team owners must also be able to make sense of the financial burden it has to undertake and somehow find a way to recover their investments. It must have the help and support to generate its own revenue, which will lead to financial independence. All of this will take time, but we need to start now. It all starts with a small step with all stakeholders moving in the same direction.”

“ The PPL is not a reincarnation of the UFL, PFL or any other previous leagues. It is a new, neutral, independent league whose main objective is to contribute to the development of football in the country. It is also the gateway to the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup. We are not here for the money nor the glory. We have no political or opportunistic hidden agendas. We are here to work for the country. That is why I have always been appealing, especially to the many frustrated fans, to stay positive and never give up hope. Change is never easy. But it is a catalyst of progress. So I am appealing to all the stakeholders of football in the Philippines to support change and adapt. Let us move past all the criticisms and negativity and embrace change in the pursuit of progress and stability.”

“The PPL will soon actively engage in news dissemination, give periodic updates about its plans on the development of the league, and conduct regular communication exchanges for fans on social media. See you all at the PPL kick-off on March 2019.”

#webelieve    #nevergiveup    #truefootballfan  #supportphilippinefootball

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Does Kaya's Copa Paulino Alcantara win give a template on how to win without spending big?

Kaya FC Iloilo capped off an impressive 2018 season with a thrilling 1-0 win over ten-man Davao Aguilas Bellmare FC to win the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.

The two teams battled to a 0-0 score line after ninety minutes, but the tide turned in Kaya’s favor when Davao defender Wesley dos Santos was sent off in the 99th minute after accumulating a second yellow card.

The undermanned Aguilas held firm however, and with the game seemingly destined to head into penalties, Jovin Bedic emerged as the hero in the 118th minute with a clinical finish off a Robert Lopez Mendy cross to give Iloilo a well-deserved victory.

Kaya FC Iloilo will now go on to represent the Philippines and participate in the 2019 AFC Cup. 

Here are three things we learned from Kaya’s victory.

1.)        Kaya prove winning is possible even on a limited budget

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There were two distinct narratives coming into the final.

On the one hand, there is a Davao Aguilas side who were arguably the favorites to win simply by the quality of the players on their roster.

Having signed Phil and James Younghusband midway through last season, the team added the likes of Patrick Deyto, Tahj Minniecon and Jason de Jong to form a formidable lineup.

On the other hand, there is Kaya FC Iloilo, whose signings were of the more low-ley and prudent sort, though as the final result proves, no less effective.

Does Kaya’s victory over their bigger budgeted opponents provide a template on how to win without spending big and signing the big-name players?

Team Manager Chris Greatwich explains, “Is it a template I am not sure. But I have the fortune with working with some of the wonderful human beings first.”

“I have worked with a bunch of guys who come into training, work hard, try to adapt themselves to my ideas, which is tough sometimes. And if that’s the format for success, then maybe.”

The former Azkal hero however, understands the reality of modern-day football.

“So, is it a template? Possibly. But it does help when you have lots of money to spend.”

“You not necessarily don’t need to have money. But it would help.”

2.)        Disappointment for Davao

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Azkals and Davao captain Phil Younghusband has accomplished so much in his distinguished career, but his dream of participating in the AFC tournaments will again have to wait for another year.

It is may seem unthinkable that the Azkals leading goal scorer and the face of Philippine football for many years has never tasted AFC club football action, and the reality is that this year was as great a chance as he would have.

With champions Ceres already clinching a berth at the AFC Champions League, Davao entered the Copa Paulino Alcantara as one of the favorites to win the cup and with it go to the AFC Cup next year.

With multi-titled Leigh Manson at the helm and with massive support from the management, it seemed that the time was right for Davao to finally win their first maiden trophy in the Philippines.

Davao had their chances, but Messrs. Younghusband and company will have to wait another year.

3.)        Joven Bedic’s impressive 2018

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For Iloilo born Jovin Bedic, scoring the winning goal in the final of Copa Paulino Alcantara -- named after the Ilonggo legend who went on to set scoring records at FC Barcelona before a certain Leo Messi decided to break them -- scoring in the final had extra meaning.

Bedic: “Best feeling lagi pag maka-score, pero mas special ito kasi final. Especially ako na taga Barotac Nuevo.”

After the dramatic victory which saw a cohesive Kaya beat a much-heralded Davao, head coach Noel Marcaida was understandably full of praise for his players after the match.

“I can say na yong best local players is nasa Kaya FC, and na prove namin na we have the local players na kayang maglaro sa ganitong level,” says the Kaya head coach.

He is obviously proud of the development of local players under his watch.
“Isa sa focus namin is to develop local players. Also, masaya kami kasi yong Kaya FC is a mixture of quality Filipino, quality foreign Filipino and quality foreign players. So, I would say na magaling ang management ng Kaya FC.”

But with star striker Robert Lopez Mendy and other players on expiring contracts, it is now up to management of Kaya to make sure they are on board for next season.

Chris Greatwich is pragmatic about the situation.
“Who knows what’s going to happen between now and the start of the AFC?”

Obviously, individual contractual situations would need to be resolved, but I personally don’t want to look beyond tonight and want to savor the moment.”

“It’s been a long, hard season with many many obstacles we’ve had to overcome and pleased we’ve been able to reach the summit tonight.”

An Ilonggo scoring in the final of a cup named after Iloilo’s most famous football son.

One can almost imagine Paulino Alcantara himself smiling in approval.

Pics from Kaya FC Facebook page.

Friday, May 5, 2017

PR from Davao Aguilas -- They're ready for the PFL!

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With much anticipation, the Davao Aguilas is set to embark on its maiden journey to prove itself as a team to contend with in the debut season of the Philippine Football League 2017. Despite the many challenges that the club faced in forming its team, from the acquisition of players both local and foreign to the organizational structure of the club, the DAFC has managed to posture itself in fighting form.

Having only been formally established in January of this year, DAFC has truly made head way. To begin with, the club has landed the services of head coach Mr. Gary Philips. A veteran in Australian football, coach Gary will contribute heaps of professional football experience to the club. Alongside coach Gary is his Aussie mate, who happens to be a renowned world cup goalkeeper for Australia in 1974 and Football Federation Hall of Famer, coach James “Jimmy” Fraser has also stepped up to the plate as DAFC goalkeeper coach.

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DAFC didn’t stop with these two reputable foreign coaches. They are backed by local coaches who hails from Davao. Seasoned coaches Melchor Anzures, Ramonito “Lalas” Carreon and Ronoel Garfin has proven to be a strong compliment to Coach Gary and Coach Jim.

Davao Aguilas is spearheaded by local players with the likes of central defender Jason Cordova, attacker John Nico Macapal, veteran goalkeeper Kim Versales, Baguio native Junell Bautista and Philippine Azkals standout, Nate Burkey,

DAFC also signed up Davao and Mindanao players. We have U22 mainstays Van Rey Diaz, and Richard Talaroc of Misamis Oriental. In the roster are also young talents Princeton Josue, Davao goalkeeper Roeder Ignacio and Tagum native Alexis Cabistante.  Youth players Mujer Sumail, Amir Amaikurut, and Kahlil Jikiri.

UFL players John Philip De Los Santos, John Resty Gumban, Gerald Layumas, Jay-Ar Bucayan, Stephen Burda, and Franco De La Torre reinforces the team .

We shall also see many new names and faces in the players that the Davao Aguilas acquired. International division players like midfielder Dylan De Bruycker, a Fil-foreign baller from Belgium. Other members of the team include Serbian goalkeeper Marko Trkulja, striker Nikola Grubjesic, defender Milos Krstic, and Australian winger Brad MacDonald, Fil-American right wing Omar Khan, attacker Gilmar Fernandez-Lynch, midfielder Andreas Esswein, complete the line-up.

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DAFC CEO Ramon “Chito” Manuel notes “This will be a very steep climb for the Aguilas. But, we are well prepared to reach the top and with the unwavering support and commitment of Davao Aguilas FC Chairman Mr. Jefferson Cheng Davao Aguilas FC has a very bright future ahead.”

“We would like to invite all people who hail from Davao and Mindanao to support our very own Professional Football Club, Davao Aguilas FC. We ask you to be with us to complete this journey to bring Mindanao to the forefront of Philippine Football and put Davao and Mindanao on the World Football Map. We are a new club, we are the underdogs, but we promise you, like the spirit of the Mindanao people, the Aguilas will always be strong and courageous to fight hard and no matter what the odds are we will play to win in every game” says DAFC Chairman Jefferson Cheng.

Indeed, the Davao Aguilas Football Club has come a long way in a very, very short period. Now we shall witness the club’s first match of the season in the PFL against Ilocos United FC away on May 7 with a 4pm kick off at Quirino Stadium in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. A very interesting first game because both teams are newcomers. One may ask, are they ready for the big league? The answer: A big YES! And it shall be proven on their first match. Sukol Aguilas!

Monday, March 27, 2017

PICS: Azkals vs. Malaysia from InterAksyon Photographer Addison Tan

Pictures from the Azkals friendly game vs. Malaysia on March 22, 2017 which ended in a 0-0 draw.

All Pictures can be used free of charge, provided:

1.) Please credit the pictures to: Addison Tan /
2.) Please message me the website where you intend to use the pictures.

Many thanks!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Ceres Negros Panaad Experience

Ceres Negros lead the way - on and off the field.

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Ceres Negros FC put on a dominant display as they demolished Tampines Rovers in their second group match of the 2017 AFC Cup in front of a packed Panaad Stadium in Bacolod. 

Three first half goals from Ceres put the Busmen on their way to a comfortable victory, with Tampines Rovers struggling to find answers. 

New signing Iain Ramsay made a dream start for his new team Ceres with a superb strike in the opening seconds of the match, as 
Ceres never looked back. 

Signed from Kaya FC in the offseason to boost the squad, OJ Porteria and Junior Muñoz put in splendid performances in their debuts in front of their home fans as well. 

With Coach Thomas Dooley watching from the stands, Azkals goalkeeper Roland Muller and Jeffrey Christiaens impressed in overpowering a surprisingly overmatched S. League side. 

Displaying crisp passing and quick one-twos, the Bacolod side issued a statement of great intent to the rest of their group. 

But what's more impressive is not just the performance on the pitch, but the preparation the management of Ceres put in prior to hosting the match. 

From the banners lining up the airport arrival halls, to the posters lining up the streets of Bacolod, to the giant billboards with the players' faces plastered in the highways, Ceres Negros FC made sure that all efforts were made to ensure all in Bacolod knew of the magnitude of the game. 

And the fans duly came in droves. 

Bucking rainy weather the whole day, yellow clad supporters packed Panaad Stadium to give their support to their home team. 

 The atmosphere in Panaad was electric, with drums blaring whole game long and horns from nearby Ceres buses giving the game a uniquely Negrense experience. 

When the PFF planned the Philippines Football League, they surely must have envisioned the national league with the Panaad fan support and experience in mind. 

Fans in Manila weary of poor attendances and interest owe it to themselves to make the trip down south to catch one of the remaining two Ceres home group stage matches. It is something to behold. 

Support from fans, officially declared at 8,000 but closer to 10,000 in actuality, made the Ceres players and coaching staff wax lyrical about the prospect of playing their home games here in Panaad. 

Manny Ott enthuses, "Always playing here it makes us proud, it's like unbelievable, the support in Bacolod. The crowd is amazing and it's better to play here than in Rizal Memorial in front of 800 people."

Iain Ramsay likewise pays tribute to the fans. 

"The fans are amazing. From the whole game, from start to finish they're screaming, they're loud, fans are playing. 

"This is football. This is what atmosphere is all about."

A trip to Panaad Stadium for the Ceres game has dispelled all talk of the demise of Philippine football and waning interest, at least for this humble writer. 

Ceres now top their group with four points and will greatly look forward to their next home game against Felda United on March 15. 

It can be sure that the fans are equally looking forward to it as well. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Unofficial and Unconfirmed Player Transfers for the 2017 PFL Season

This will be a running blog on the ins and out of players from their clubs. Additions to this post are greatly appreciated.

SILLY Season for Philippine Football


Ceres Negros
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Jason de Jong (Loyola)
Junior Munoz (Kaya)
OJ Porteria (Kaya)
Joshua Grommen (Stallion)


Stephan Schrock

Loyola Meralco Sparks
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Jason de Jong

Kaya FC
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Junior Munoz
OJ Porteria

Stallion FC
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Joshua Grommen