And while we’re basking in the glow of the fireworks after the Azkals winning game in Panaad, some of us now back in our usual humdrum lives, every now and then absentmindedly slipping on the bath rug as we thought of that 1-2 goal by Chieffy Caligdong right between the legs of the Mongolian goalie, do some of us stop to think of what this rush of love for these ersatz streetdogs (yes, no asong kalye’s there; halfbreeds yes but no dribbler from Happyland — YET) really mean for Filipinas Futbol?

Here’s what Mico Halili has to say about the Azkals newfound fame.

Holy kamote, what is this?! There is no mainstream tradition, built with decades of deliriously watching Azkals football. Not yet. Not even years of watching the English Premiere League, El Clasico, UEFA or even the Copa Libertadores can substitute for legit experience. Maybe those magical days during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games served as the Genesis or Big Bang of today’s delirium. Or maybe not. But Azkals fever, fueled by rockstar charm and fireworks to end games, is a new-born animal. Are there long lists of Azkals Mania veterans and experts? My hunch is we’re mostly rookies in this new sphere. Not yet saddled with political baggage or jaded by disappointment.

And so here’s to us, Azkals fans both new and old. Although I must say that I do prefer Aly Borromeo’s close cropped head now as compared to the dreadlocks his adidas poster from years back, and I will always hail the boys from Barotac Nuevo long before I become a Phil Oldwife.

The ball is round

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