Maybe one day
There is passion for football in this country, regardless of what skeptics may say or believe.
Just ask the fans who stay up late watching the current World Cup. There are even Filipino fans who made a trip to Russia to catch the matches. The exchange on social media is vibrant with even the most unexpected non-sports fans getting hooked and posting comments on the skills of the players to the fans in the stands cheering themselves hoarse.
There’s something uplifting and magical when you see thousands of fans in the stands who traveled to Russia to support their teams. Some even traversed over long distances and are spending thousands to stay in hotels and buy tickets for the games.
The large football stadiums can accommodate passionate fans and once they start chanting, waving their flags and cheering over goals and wins, a joyful picture of the human race celebrating nationhood and a chance to prove athletic skills and prowess unfolds.
The Golden State Warriors line says that there is “strength in numbers” and undoubtedly, players on the football pitch seeing supporters rooting for them can be uplifting, especially when the going gets rough.
Of course there are those that take it to extremes but so far, a proper decorum has permeated through the games. There is of course disappointment because some teams are simply so demanding of their national squads.
The World Cup fever has prompted Filipinos to imagine what it would be like for the Philippines to make it to such a prestigious sports event.
We’ve seen glimpses of buoyant fan support in the basketball world championships in Spain where Filipinos were declared as the most enthusiastic hoop fans.
Can you imagine if this were transported to the football World Cup? Hundreds of Philippine flags waving, Pinoys with face paint on and a whole cacophony of languages and dialects cheering on the Azkals is a sight that we dream of.
The road to fulfilling that is long and challenging but if Philippine football continues with its development, who knows? If the Azkals make it by the time the World Cup plays in Qatar or four years later in the United States, we’ll have a thundering crowd egging on the team and tons of Pinoy reunions to boot.
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