Azkals face bumpy road ahead | Inquirer Sports
Clean Living

Azkals face bumpy road ahead

I CONGRATULATE the Azkals football team for winning the bronze in the just-ended AFC Challenge Cup in Nepal and 24-year-old Phil Younghusband for clinching the much-coveted Golden Boot Award with six goals in five matches.

Ditto for team manager Dan Palami, a past Philippine Sportswriters Association awardee as executive of the year, and German coach Michael Weiss for steering the Azkals to a historic third-place place in the event.

But the task is far from over as far as the Azkals are concerned. They not only missed capturing a berth in the AFC Asian Cup—finalists North Korea, who emerged winner, and Turkmenistan did make it—but the future of football in this country remains a big question mark.


In the words of former Rep. Imee Marcos, the Azkals have still to prove their true worth by winning a major tournament and already some of them are misbehaving.


Has overnight success gone into their heads?

There is no question that the Azkals gave Philippine football respect and recognition. But it does not give them the license to abuse the rights and hospitality of their host country.

Ms Cristy Ramos, daughter of former President Fidel V. Ramos, ex-Philippine Olympic Committee head and topnotch football player during her prime, has earlier filed sexual harassment complaint with the Asian Football Federation (AFC) against players Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy.

The feisty Ramos likewise blasted team captain James Younghusband for his failure to discipline his teammates. “He didn’t do anything to discipline his teammates. I hope he teaches his players to behave well.”

Serving as match commissioner in the recent Philippine Azkals-Malaysia friendly match which ended in a 1-all draw at the Rizal Memorial Track-Football Stadium, Ms Ramos alleged (while inside the dugout before the game) that “some players ridiculed her, with one player disrespectfully asking for the size of her brassiere, which was followed by a roar of laughter.” Another player, Cristy averred, appeared before her half naked during the postgame inspection in violation of ethical norms.

The former Philippine President said he and his wife Ming Ramos agreed with the position their daughter had taken on the issue, noting that their daughter had held various positions in sports both as a player and as a sports official.


“She sure knows what she’s talking about,” stressed Mr. Ramos.

“The players should behave,” added Ming. Nakakahiya ang (It’s a shame for a) Filipino.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, said. “Sexual harassment must not be tolerated anytime, anywhere. Such acts should not go unpunished.”

Added the lady senator from Taguig City, “I call for an immediate investigation of this incident … not only because this is a serious allegation made by match commissioner Cristy Ramos, who is a sports official, but also because the Azkals are looked up to as modern-day heroes and role models.”

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Fellow columnist Recah Trinidad also said, “Manager Dan Palami had apologized, but the international football body would do well to crack the whip. A suspension would be too mild a reprimand.”

TAGS: AFC Challenge Cup, Azkals, Cristy Ramos, Football, Sexual Harassment

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