Filipino community rally to support AZKALS AFF 2010 Suzuki Cup

A December 21, 2010 press release prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Filipino community mobilized to support the Philippine football team or the Azkals.

The team competed in the semifinals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) 2010 Suzuki Cup in Jakarta.

In an effort to mobilize support for the Azkals, a first-time qualifier in the semifinal round of the AFF, the Embassy sent an email blast to the community prior to the team’s arrival in Jakarta.

Embassy officers and staff and the Filipino community watched the Azkals’ games last December 16 and 19 at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, despite the hostile reception of the home crowd.

Also, the Filipino community mobilized a mini-pep rally at Sultan Hotel’s lobby prior to the second game of the team with Indonesia.

The Embassy and the Filipino community also hosted a welcome lunch for the team at Balay Pinoy last December 17 where Azkals team manager Dan Palami delivered a short speech and introduced the team members to the community.

For his part, Azkals British coach Simon McMenemy expressed his appreciation for the hospitality accorded to the whole Philippine delegation. He said that he was overwhelmed by the warm welcome and enthusiasm shown by members of the Filipino community for the team.

Despite losing to Indonesia in their matches, the Philippine team earned the respect and admiration of the Indonesians for their strong performance, sportsmanship, and friendliness. The team members’ gracious demeanor also made them popular among Indonesian football fans that came for photos, autographs and close interaction.

The Jakarta Post quoted Indonesia’s head coach saying “the match was his team’s most difficult”.

Embassy officials sent off the team when they departed for Manila last December 20.