Racist issue mars Azkals win vs HK



HONG KONG—Friendly? Not so.

A scintillating victory by the Philippines in what was supposed to be a friendly match against Hong Kong took a controversial turn when the host country’s football officials were forced to confront reports of racist abuse during the match.

In what was easily one of the finest performance by the Azkals away from home, Neil Etheridge provided a quality performance between the posts, preserving James Younghusband’s first half goal in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night that was marred by an unruly home crowd at Mongkok Stadium here.

The South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday that Hong Kong fans at the game called their Filipino counterparts “slaves,” threw bottles at them and booed the Philippine national anthem.

The hostile crowd grew increasingly frustrated with every impressive save by Etheridge in a torrid final 20 minutes.

But ugly scenes marred the end of the match with the home crowd throwing debris at the Azkals and the Filipino gallery, which were made up mostly of women and children.

“This win is even more meaningful for us because of the large number of Filipinos working in Hong Kong,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “We dedicate this victory to them.”

Hong Kong Football Association spokesman Benny Chan said it will release an official report to the public and Fifa after it completes its investigation.

Philippine football officials said they were waiting for a report from their team before deciding whether to complain to Fifa.

The incident comes as Fifa decided last week to treat racist abuse more seriously by toughening up punishments.

Both teams were using the match to prepare for more important battles ahead with Hong Kong sharpening up for their Asian Cup Qualifying match in October and the Philippines toughening for the AFC Challenge Cup next year.

But the match was played at a fast pace with both teams pressing high, hoping to win the ball early and in dangerous areas. The Azkals carved out chances on the counter-attack and it was a swift move out from the backline that led to Stephan Schrock making a cross that the Hong Kong backline failed to clear.

Younghusband towered over his defender and directed his header beyond the arms of Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai for his eighth international goal.


Hong Kong was handed a lifeline when star striker Chan Siu Ki was adjudged to have been fouled by Juani Guirado inside the penalty box in the 66th minute. But Etheridge proved equal to the spotkick, saving with his left foot and showing quick reactions to clear the rebound.

Etheridge had three more sensational close-range stops as the Azkals coped with the pressure by the home side.

“It was a lucky victory but we have to take it as it is. We did not have enough time to prepare and I can only laud Neil Etheridge for his performance,” said Azkals coach Michael Weiss. “Slowly but surely, the team is understanding the concept of pressing and that is what we are trying to do even if we dont have our Europe-based players.” With a report from the Associated Press

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  • gabriela

    Since we now know that there are people in other countries/cities (HK, Singapore, mainland China, Taiwan…) who clearly dislike us and look down on us, it’s better to avoid such places. After reading comments of different netizens particularly those from Singapore who aren’t even involved in this recent unfortunate incident but making sawsaw, I cancel my trip then. The real Palawan is better than their Palawan beach in Sentosa anyway. It’s fake. We should consider patronizing our own products now. Tangkilikin natin ang sariling atin. Let us help our local industries. Let’s visit our own islands. It’s more fun here diba? We aren’t welcome there though other locals do welcome us but nonetheless. This is our way of telling them that we can survive without them. Let us be serious about this. What happened in HK was painful. I don’t care much about discriminatory remarks but disrespecting our national anthem was too much.
    It’s hard for our overseas workers who don’t have a choice but start being serious now (to those who are not) in saving your salaries & invest them back home. You should tell your families in the Philippines to save too & not go to the mall to buy unnecessary things (you know what mall). Mag-ipon na po tayo. Huwag waldasin ang pinagpagurang pera ng kahit sinong may kamag-anak sa ibang bansa. My dear kababayans, we can do better than this. If we are overseas, let us think too that we are ambassadors of our country. Let us also end this sometimes kanya-kanya attitude. Magkaisa na po tayo. We are stronger if we are united.

    • conway

      First, I doubt you even had a trip to cancel. Second, your assertion that it’s better to avoid the places you mentioned is parochial and insensitive to OFWs. Third, we can do better than your parochial rant.

      • gabriela

        If I do have a trip to cancel or not, it’s not your problem. You doubt all you want.

        Obviously you didn’t read my comment thoroughly. I wrote this would be hard for our overseas workers who don’t have a choice.

        Regardless, I was addressing this mainly to people who can afford to travel abroad and to those who receive money from relatives abroad. We need to patronize our own and we need to save and invest more. If you don’t, it’s your choice. Or are you even one of us? You seem so affected if we are going to avoid the places I mentioned. And besides, Taiwan and HK had given unfair travel advisories to PH so it’s just fair.

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    Racism or not, this is the first time such an incident made frontpage news. The situation was certainly not helped by our Chinese President PNoy’s poor handling and poor decision in the Luneta Hostage Massacre. Had it been our entire Azkal team strafed and killed by some crazy Hong Kong Ching-Chong-Chinaman, I think we’d react similarly to any HK visiting team. To the victims of the Luneta Hostage Massacre and their compatriots, the friendly game was never about football. To us, it was about sports and scoring goals. To our Chinese President PNoy, it’s about granting immunity to friends and allies. Mayor Lim should have been crucified but he was allowed to get away with it.

    Ang laging naiipit ang mga OFWs at pangkaraniwang Juan dela Cruz.

    • Rhemzis

      “Had it been our entire Azkal team strafed and killed by some crazy Hong Kong Ching-Chong-Chinaman, I think we’d react similarly to any HK visiting team”

      Wrong. Many OFWs have been maltreated overseas, but never did the Filipinos do what the people of HongKong did. Nagprotesta sa gobyerno ng ibang bansa, pero hindi gumanti ang Pinoy sa Instik, Arabo, Amerikano, Hapon, Koreano, etc.

      • Weder-Weder Lang

        Not true. The NGO I was working for in 1995 lost some scholarships to Singapore for our public school high school students after two Singaporeans were attacked in Adriatico. One Malay, one Instik. Happened two weeks after Flor Contemplacion was executed.

  • Jan Do

    This incident unmasked the true sentiments of the majority of Hongkong people towards the Filipinos who are just happy to serve and make a living. In hongkong, to serve is to become a slave. The people of Hongkong should be ashamed of this, and those who are decent should denounce this attitude. What will happen to you when China finally assimilated you into their system?

    • conway

      Those who watched in the stadium comprise the majority of Hong Kong people?

  • Tommy

    There’s honestly been latent racism from Chinese towards Malays for ages. Just a look at the drivel some of the Taiwanese have been posting here will tell you that. I do not appreciate Filipinos being referred to as ‘monkeys’. It’s disappointing to see it spill over into football though.

    Granted, there’s some going the other way as well. Everyone needs to just bloody relax.

  • zymygy

    Call us what they want.Its ironic calling us slaves.They forgot about their history during 1800.That decade was the Opium Wars and they are first drug addicts.

  • anne_203

    Racism is not new in football. Live with it and overcome adversity by winning matches.

  • 56u4puvv

    the irony is that what happen in the racial incidents didnt publish by local news except the china morning post, which is run in english. they are keeping this racial descrimatory remarks in order not to tarnish their image. ths fact is that they are spending mjllions thru media to let their hospitality known. but action speaks louder than word…

  • Neil Abarca

    RACISM ang pinoproblema at pinakaMABIGAT na issue na kinakaharap ng FIFA. Hindi lang sa laban ng Azkals-Hongkong, matagal ng talamak ito sa EUROPE lalo na sa Eastern Europe na halos laitin at saktan ang mga BLACK AFRICAN players na karaniwang naglalaro sa mga team ng Western Europe…

    Kahit paano, bibilib ka pa rin sa FIFA.. Nagagawan maparusahan, SUSPINDIHIN at bigyang ng SANCTIONS (ng FIFA at local Football Club) ang mga football club na kumukunsinti sa RACIST na mamamayan.

    Kung walang pagtugon at hindi mapaparusahan ang mga salarin o ang host country Football Club sa kahiya-hiyang incidence ng Azkal / Hongkong game, malaking set-back ito sa local Football Club ng Hongkong at DAGOK DIN ITO SA FIFA…

    ANTABAYANAN natin ang mga KAGANAPAN…

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