By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY—They have come a long way, their popularity now can not be stopped as they had sparked anew the nation’s interest in football.Their victory over Mongolia’s national football team, Blue Wolves,, by a 2-0 score gave the Azkals greater prestige in the football arena. Now, they are working hard for another bout next month.
The team Azkals came to the city to train in higher altitude in preparation for the upcoming and second leg of the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) challenge on March 15, 2011 in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Where the temperature is -17 degree celcius. The team came for a week-long rigid training in the city.
Still part of their training and conditioning for the freezing Mongolian weather, the Azkals will also fly to Japan next week. They are optimistic to win the rematch with the Blue Wolves which will boost them to the qualifying series of the AFC.
During their press conference at Baguio Country Club, Coach Hans Michael Weiss said the city is good for the training of the team because of the small population and the cozy environment. The whole team thanked the people of Baguio and La Trinidad with their warm accomodation and support.
Many supporters from outside the city also came to watch the trainings of the team.
According to the team, the venue is an advantage for the Mongolian team , however the Azkals promised to be at their best in the match for the people who are supporting them and for the country’s football enthusiasts.
The Azkals’ training in Baguio is expected to boost the enthusiasm for football. The city government of Baguio has started improving the Melvin Jones grounds which used to be better as the footbal grounds.
Meanwhile, Senator Miguel Zubiri who was also in Baguio recently, commitment to locate funds for improved and new sports facilities in the city. He said this would be great if Baguio becomes the seat of Azkals’ trainings.
Free football lessons
Despite the busy training schedule of the team, Azkals provided free lessons to the kids from the 20 beneficiaries of the Junior Chamber International-Baguio Sunflower and some elementary football players of Beckel Elementary School (BES).
The football players of BES expressed their joy after meeting the Azkals. Leaders of the BES football players Michael Nag-is and Nicole Abellera expressed gratitude for the amazing experience with the famous sports champions of the country.
The BES players are also preparing for a local football competition.
According to them, they are more confident now to win in the competition because of the free lessons shared by the Azkals.
When asked who were their favorite Azkal, the BES players shouted the names James Younghusband, Chieffy Caligdong and Phil Younghusband.
Meanwhile, the Azkals call for the support of the people and to watch their upcoming rematch. # nordis.net