I knew the Azkals (the Philippine National Football Team) won their group match against Bangladesh, 3-0, on Friday. I didn’t really find out more than score, though. So yesterday morning, I picked up The Philippine Star and read the article about the win (online version here).
And here’s what I found out about the game:
- That the Azkals sang “Ole! Ole! Ole!” in the dressing room after the win.
- That the music was so loud in the dugout, you couldn’t hear the person beside you.
- When the final whistle blew, Coach Michael Weiss “lifted his arms, with clenched fists and faced the sun.”
- That each time the Azkals scored, they “whooped it up like they never did before.” (what does that even mean?!?!?!)
- That the Philippines made the semis of the AFF Suzuki Cup last year, beating Vietnam 2-0 along the way (… hey, wait a minute…)
- That newcomer Angel Guirado, who, “once inside the PENALTY” launched a shot to score is “the angel from heaven.”
Because that’s what I was dying to know about the match. Thank you, Abac Cordero and The Philippine Star.
Is this what I should expect from the football articles of one of the country’s biggest dailies? More paragraphs about how the team celebrated than on the actual match itself? What they sang and not the formation they played in? Information on Guirado’s angelic origins and but not his earthly footballing credentials (he plays in the Spanish Tercera División for CD Ronda and used to be in the reserves for Atletico Madrid)?
I know that football is just starting to gain popularity in the country and that, in all probability, Sky Sports-level analyses won’t really find a mainstream audience just yet. But I’m not asking for Jonathan Wilson to cover Philippine football. All I am asking for is that the coverage be informative, relevant and that the bulk of it to be about the actual game. While I suppose the Younghusband fan girls will be thankful for the image of James “bouncing up and down, arms linked” with his teammates, articles like these are a disservice to the rest of the Philippine population (not dreaming to be Younghusband wife) who are just discovering football.
Football has had a hard enough time gaining ground in the country and articles like this do nothing to help the sport. How are we going to make people who are new to football appreciate the skill that goes into a scoring a goal, the grace it takes to dodge defenders, the reflexes required for a save if an article on an outstanding 3-0 win focused more on the locker room than on the pitch? How are we supposed to sustain interest in the sport (especially when matches like this were not aired live in the country) when more words were written about the coach’s victory pose than on the first goal scored (I counted. It was 10 versus 6)?
It’s understandable that our local sports journalists aren’t used to writing about football. Let’s face it, the Philippine National Team has never really given them much to write about up until a few months ago. But is it really that hard to stick to the facts of the game? I’m sure any sports writer would have at least a basic knowledge of the sport. Even if they’ve never watched a La Liga match before the Azkal win over Vietnam, they’ve now had four months since to get a crash course on the offside rule and what merits a red card versus a yellow (Ronnie Nathanielsz desperately needs those lessons). They could’ve read up on thousands of articles to get an idea on what a match report should look like. Actually, they didn’t even have to go through that many. All they needed was to go through, like, TWO, to know that no one really needs to know what song they sang in celebration, at least not by the second paragraph of the article.
So please, for the sake of the sport and basic journalistic standards, could The Philippine Star please get a competent football journalist? If a dedicated football writer is too much to ask, could you please get Abac Cordero never to write on football again some basic news writing lessons alone time with the Guardian football site?