The Philippines recently discovered football. It has been years in the making, but with the stunning campaign of the Philippine Azkal team, football in the Philippines is on the map!
As of half-time of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup, the Philippine Azkals led the Mongolian Blue Wolves 1-0. According to ABS-CBN sports there were over 18,000 people at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City to watch the Azkals play against the Blue Wolves.
When the Azkals scored that first goal, Twitter was raining “Ggggoooaaalll!”
Azkals, Bacolod, Phil Younghusband were trending topics worldwide on twitter.
There was even a blue-haired fanatic! See this video by Drealkulit:
According to Kulit, “Apparently, local police weren’t amused when this face-painted, blue-haired guy tried to rally the crowd by running around, waving the Philippine flag. LOL”
In the closing minutes of the game, Phil Younghusband scored the 2nd goal for the Azkals. You can imagine the euphoria as the crowd from Panaad Stadium, all across the country, and into social networks like Twitter and Facebook burst into bliss!
@NINAesque tweeted, “Dear @PhilYHusband, your sex appeal just skyrocketed. As if you aren’t sexy enough. #Azkals win 2-0”
@ellobofilipino wrote, “After weeks of scandals and shame, the #Azkals gave us something we can be proud of!”
In a bit of humor, @ssowy tweeted, “Umiiyak raw si Mr. Shooli.” Mr. Shooli is a Mongolian character from Philippine pop culture.
“#Caligdong,” @junetwentyone tweeted, “is ur best argument for why #football should be the sport for Pinoys, not basketball: short, quick, talented #azkals”
@liadcruz said, “To all the sports people who flew to Bacolod: nakakainggit naman kayo!!!! Haha!”
The euphoria is so wild, you could mistake it for the Philippines winning the World Cup, and not just a game.
@buwayahman described the scene at Panaad as, “Mayhem!”
(update) Over at Asian Correspondents, Carlos Conde wrote, “Azkals and the end of basketball’s reign in the Philippines.” Mr. Conde quoted Journalist Kenneth Guda, who wrote on Facebook, “Suddenly lots of Pinoys have become football fans. By the way, there’s a PBA tonight. Anybody watching? 😉 To which a friend replied: “Basketball? What’s that?”
Philippines versus Mongolia, AFC Challenge Cup Pre Qualifier game takes place on March 15, at Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
@SagadaSun aptly put it, “#AZKALS Next Stop– ULAN BATOR– then the Rest of the World !”