July 16, 2011
Bahrain National Stadium

The 1st not-so-friendly BahrainPhilippines Friendship Game happened with 3 men down.

Final Score: 2 Bah-1 Phi. The Azkals were able to score despite jet lag and the unfavorable condition of playing inside an oven.

It was a Pinoy pride day. It’s so rejuvenating to cheer with your countrymen outside your country! We felt the ironic home court advantage.

One of my favorite moments

This is one of my favorite moments in a football game: players neatly lined up against a clean green pitch, flags leading the way, and kids hand-in-hand with the players (this kinda brings out the softee side from a toughee image).

July 17, 2011

About a month ago, news came from mom that the Azkals will come visit Bahrain; we both don’t have a clue why. News later spread that if they win against Sri Lanka, they’ll be facing Kuwait next. Now the visit made sense.

Then came a pool of unassuming (well, there were also some assuming representatives who may as well have been born with innate spunk) varied breeds of Azkals in the Philippine Embassy Bahrain in Mahooz for the courtesy call.

It has always been a pleasant atmosphere whenever I get surrounded by athletes or when in a sporting event, for that matter.

I only knew 5 of them: the Younghusbands (need I say more), Anton del Rosario (tagged in “Lahat dito del Rosario” page), Chieffy, on the news for scoring most of the time , Ali Borromeo (because of a friend). Ah and Neil Etheridge but he wasn’t there. All the rest were just faces to me (pretty faces at that).

Coach Weiss

Azkals Captain Aly Borromeo

The Younghusbands, James and Phil

Co-captain Chieffy Caligdong and Anton del Rosario posing for me

My awkward pose with Phil Younghusband

The Azkals in the Philippine Embassy Bahrain with the Ambassador

July 18

Okay, game 2, we’re late. kick-off starts at 7:30 and we’re just about to leave a little past 7. We battled through the long drive to the airport (where the stadium’s at) and the traffic, of course.

We parked at the first open space we found (which is above the gutter) and ran to where the people are crowding. There was a line to the entrance where tickets were also being sold. We run past them flashing our passes. We walked a while and found we were in the wrong side of the stadium so we run again to the main entrance.

Alas! there were no more seats left for us, so we occupied the staircase. Perfectly fine, we had a closer view although the organizers kept moving in front of us. Looked like we only missed quite a few minutes. But few minutes after, barely settled in my seat was the 1st goal of the game.

It was crazy! Rowdy! Total chaos! So hot and humid! SO much fun! Live action drama! : ]

After the courtesy call, I’m hooked. I needed to research who were those I had shaken hands with, talked to, and had my pictures taken with. : ] I knew more of them this time.

It’s a totally different experience watching events live. It’s crazier! I particularly like it when people are singing the national anthem in chorus. That’s one prouding moment. To see how a crowd of strangers can spontaneously create a united chant and cheer is heartwarming as well. And a lot (like I overheard) don’t even understand the game. They’re just proud to support the flag! : ]

Crowd cheering after a goal

Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami posing for me

Handshake after the game

Another day of natural high. Amy Winehouse should have watched more live games for it.