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List of Articles by Recah Trinidad



Azkals: Should it also be thanks Cristy?

By Recah Trinidad
PhilBoxing.com
14 Mar 2012



IT will not be entered in the world football encyclopedia among the most spectacular games in Asia.

The match could indeed look common, regular; although, given to any other Southeast Asian capital where football is also religion, the victory by the Philippine Azkals would have been instantly celebrated with great merry-making, dancing in the streets.

It was monumental and historic; indeed of Mt. Everest proportions, as noted by the young, able Inquirer scribe from the game site in chilly Kathmandu.

**

The journey of the Philippine Azkals to the semifinals of the AFC Challenge Cup should go under a chapter on the gallant and bravest stands in soccer.

Of course, it was not all about the come-from-behind 2-1 conquest of dangerous Tajikistan alone.

The long hard road started all the way back home.
The most arduous journey began that fateful Saturday inside the national team locker room, before the friendly with Malaysia, wherein two Azkals ended up being accused of sexual harassment.

**

“It was a great display of resiliency and fighting heart,” wrote Cedelf Tupas, “with the squad growing in strength with every game.”

The first match, against former World Cup qualifier North Korea, was hard and ended in a blood-letting 0-2 setback.
But the Azkals refused to be cowed.

They rebounded and slew former champion India to set up the yours-or-mine combat against Tajikistan.

**

The Azkals had been given only a fair chance against India.
But after the 2-0 victory on Sunday, it became clear the Azkals had also refused to be dampened by the howling sexual harassment case filed by AFC match commissioner Cristy Jalasco, driven daughter of former President Fidel Ramos.

The Azkals refused to be diminished and distracted.
In fact, they visibly matured and fought harder as one.

**

“Try learning how to win,” Mr. Ramos calmly admonished the Azkals when asked about the controversy that raged shortly before the Azkals could depart for their tough AFC mission.
Of course, the Azkals had been on the up-and-down prior to the AFC Cup Challenge stint.

Their manager, Dan Palami, was not too sure how far the Azkals could go in the Challenge Cup he had no plane booking past the Feb. 13 match against Tajikistan.

Now, they’ve got to rebook in order to honor their semifinals battle against Turministan tomorrow, minus two members who have been suspended after getting the yellow card against Tajikistan.

**

Needless to say, the Azkals would work hardest in the tomorrow’s match.

It might not be another swoon, but one team striker said they’ve got a fair chance because they are a lot quicker and faster than the opponents.

Meanwhile, there were those who were already wondering who should get the credit.

Palami, who apologized and handled the controversy professionally, should lead the honor roll.

But whether it was an outright indignity or a mere misimpression that had led to the accusation, there were also questions about the intangibles.

Shouldn’t Cristy Ramos be thanked for helping push the Azkals to play with greater zeal, thereby carrying the Philippine flag with pride and enviable maturity?

Knowing Dan Palami, he would most likely answer with a nodding smile.


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