The Philippine Azkals’ game against North Korea was nothing short of fantastic. Spectators described their performance as ‘world class’ or ‘world cup level.’ While the more cynical amongst us would call such statements as exaggerations, the team proved one thing; that nothing is impossible.
The next Ronaldo could be Filipino. The Azkals’ greatest accomplishment last night was the rekindling of the Filipino footballers’ dream which is to be counted among the best in the world.
This is why we will never stop. This is why we will go, island by island, spreading the hope that is football. Where children do not know the game, we will teach them. Where children are oppressed, over worked and neglected, we will turn tears into shouts of joy. Simone Rota, Azkals’ defender once said “I want the children to be happy, to have fun, to play and forget their problems.”
Once an orphan, Simone was taken in by a loving Italian family, learned the game of football and is now a national team player. He’s an inspiration to many children who despite their difficult circumstances want to be world champions some day.
That is probably the Azkals’ greatest legacy for the Filipino youth.