Victory worth dwindling bank account, says Palami
Teary-eyed Philippine Azkals manager Dan Palami thanked every player and member of his staff after the squad pulled off its biggest milestone yet on Tuesday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The journey to the Asian Cup has been arduous for the Azkals and for their biggest backer, it was a fitting reward for his belief and doggedness in keeping the squad together even when help outside the Philippine Football Federation didn’t come.
“We were just trying,” said Palami. “I think that says it all. We’ve been through a lot, especially for me. We have not always been successful, but to make it to the bigger stage, after all those heartaches, it’s fulfilling. It’s a feeling that can’t be described.”
Palami started bankrolling the national team in 2010 and months later, the Azkals rose to prominence with a first semifinal appearance in the AFF Suzuki Cup in Hanoi, Vietnam.
But maintaining the team is a financially daunting task.
“Sometimes you look at your bank account, you just think if it’s all worth it,” said Palami. “These are the kinds of moments that make everything worth it.
“It’s the story of every Filipino. We are able to achieve a lot of things because of our perseverance.”
At the Asian Cup, Palami vowed that the team won’t just be in the competition to make up the numbers.
“Hopefully, we will be the Iceland in the Asian Cup,” said Palami, referring to the small Nordic country, which nailed a first World Cup berth last year, becoming the smallest nation to pull off the feat.