At the SONA they were talking about a missing senator. The Inquirer said she was not present because ” is currently in New Zealand, leading the Philippine delegation at the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup.” It totally warms the cockles of my heart ( or maybe the sub cockle area) that there is at least one Filipino athlete in the delegation going Down Under. A volleyball player that played at UP. One athlete in the group going to the Women’s World Cup that actually played an organized competitive sport in the Philippines in their formative years. The same number of Gold medals that the Philippines has earned in every Olympics since the beginning of time.
Whenever I point out the fallacy of chest beating pinoy pride, I like to do a little research. The website of the Philippine Football Federation did not give me much to go on . Just names and their positions. It did mention the team manager being optimistic about his ““ group of 23 represents the best of us, the best of the indomitable Filipino spirit, and I am excited to see them make all of us even prouder.” The question I hope to answer at the end of this piece , do they represent us at all?
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Undaunted to understand this group that qualified for the elite tournament in their sport, I soldiered on . On the website fourfourtwo, I found the roster with only slightly more information. I was given the football team they normally played for or last played for. The World Cup is a tournament that culminates only once every four years. Why doesn’t the Philippine Football Federation itself have a website with more detailed information on the players ? Why take pride in qualifying for the World Cup when native players don’t even have a token roster spot as in singular? There is no such information on their website because some KJ jerk like me who might emphasize something that they won’t want emphasized : the truth.
When checking a website with more information my eyes focused on a familiar name . Kaya- Iloilo , the club where a certain Hali Long is a defender. So there is professional football being played in Iloilo? I got a bit more curious since there is zero buzz for it. Nobody talks about going to the games. They don’t show up in any of the screens in the sports bars I go to. I see local women’s volleyball but not once have I seen women’s club soccer originating from within our shores.
I learned that Kaya F.C. – Iloilo formerly operated in Makati. Part of me wonders what business conditions exist in Iloilo that necessitate a move away from Makati? I was curious about attendance figures. Sports teams make their money in paid attendance, television revenue, concessions and sponsorship. I find very little evidence that people pay to watch “professional football ” here. According to the Philippine Football League website Kaya Iloilo holds the attendance record for the whole league with 1899 people in attendance . Congratulations to them!! I thought the whole idea of being a professional is to make money? Let’s put that 1899 high in perspective. The Michigan Wolverines College Football team averaged 110, 246 people per home game. Pinoys are lousy at sports because pinoys themselves do not support sports.
Maybe there is a website out there that can educate me on the successes of the PFL but it sure isn’t their Wikipedia page. COVID is something the whole world dealt with but there were very little signs pre COVID that there is an audience for football in the Philippines. Sample this video I found with nobody watching . Even more interesting is the debate in the livechat . Mixed with people proud to be pinoy, hopelessly optimistic and those facepalming in shame.
Let’s discuss the one lady playing for Kaya F.C. Iloilo. An article in Associated Press said that Hali Long was born in Missouri and the article tries to kiss the a$$ of pinoy readers by saying she grew up in a “pinoy” household. Cut the PR crap. A true Pinoy household would not even have a soccer player in the family . You lived in America in the Show Me state with an American father . You went to college in Arkansas. A state 99% of pinoys can’t pronounce . What you learned there made you a quasi celebrity here and you would not have developed into the soccer player that you are if you never lived outside of the Philippines. Don’t give me this balloney about a Pinoy household.
You look at that list again and there is another name that could be mistaken for a local soccer club. They list a defender named Reina Bonta with her club listed as Santos. The record shows she was born 24 years ago in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. As a teenager she played her football in California. She played for Yale University in her home state of Connecticut. She was under contract in 2022 for the San Francisco Nighthawks. She is currently on the roster for Santos in Brazil. For those of you scoring at home, or even if you’re alone ( thanks Keith Olbermann) Connecticut, California, Brazil not too many connections to the Philippines.
I refuse to go through the roster for the other 20 women out there in New Zealand / Australia donning the Philippines flag. It seems to me not one of them was born in this country or went to a school that raised the same flag that they now wear on their person. It is taking me a few days to write this and I just found the Philippines beat host New Zealand 1-0. Goal scored by Sarina Isabel Bolden. Born in California and also played her high school and university ball there. Her professional career includes stops in Sweden , Taipei, San Francisco, Japan and she is currently with an Australian team. Notice the one country not on that list? The recent win is a fact. My question is if that makes you feel good, why?? Are you too busy being proud to be pinoy to check if the product on the field is pinoy???
Can I spell out an inconvenient truth to all you people cheering and rejoicing? Nobody on the field was born in the Philippines nor did any of them attend an elementary school, high school or university here. I completely understand the loss of rationality every year with Ateneo/ La Salle skirmishes. Those players walked the same hallways and maybe taught by the same professors as the fanatical alumni. Do you guys have connections with the Little Rock Trojans ? The Yale Bulldogs? They did more work developing these players than your country’s sporting commission ever did.
There is a difference between reporting the news and serving as public relations for certain entities. That same AP article earlier quotes Philippines head coach Alen Stajcic as saying
“I don’t really care where they’re born, if they have Philippines in their heart and in their blood, and they’re good at football, then they’re eligible for our team. They all play for their flag, they all play for their country, they all play for the people in the Philippines, wherever they reside. I just know this team has Filipino heart, and blood, and courage, and spirit.”
Birth is fact. Education is fact. Time spent in a location is a fact. This guy ( who is Australian) is trying to sportswash ( see the LIV Golf tour) the notion that the Philippines as a football training ground, as a culture and a nation has very little to do with cultivating the talent that qualified for the World Cup bearing its flag. He is telling you he can read the hearts and minds of this diverse group and whatever is in there is Filipino. He says “their country” when there seems to be evidence otherwise. I guess he is armed with facts. In his book motherhood statements beat out facts.
In my time on Earth , I would like to believe I read and heard a lot of people sprout off different viewpoints. When I find someone givng an opinion that does not mesh with mine , I have to consider the source and be realistic. It is like expecting Teodoro “Teddy” Acevedo Casiño to condemn the attrocities of the New People’s Army. I might say the same thing as Mr.Stajcic if my job was judged on a win loss record and I had a choice of a labor pool from countries that care about football and the one country where spectator football is non existent beyond the national level.
Another point of view that I take with a grain of salt is one provided by Philippines team spokesman Cedelf Tupas. He was seen crying at the World Cup singing Lupang Hinirang. Cebu Sunstar columnist Mike T. Limpag believes that Tupas is emotional because our anthem is being played at the World Cup. Tupas might be crying because none of the team is singing it since none of the players ever attended a school that hoisted our flag in the morning. Tupas justifies the lack of homegrown talent by saying the foreigners playing for the team are honoring their parents. I had no idea a team that bears the flag of our nation in international competition was there to honor the parents ( in most cases the mother) of the players playing in it. Silly me , I thought the team was supposed to represent the country since they are from the country . When you are being served an authentic Filipino meal , shouldn’t the ingredients of your meal be organic to the Philippines?
Everybody in the Philippines overjoyed about the first World Cup win for the Philippines. Too bad nobody on the pitch was actually born or schooled in the same place that is rejoicing as I write this. it seems the young women representing the Philippines are from anywhere else in the world except the Philippines. Something conveniently ignored in reports about this “historic” win. The night before this “historic win” , Stajcic was quoted as wanting to “crash the party” since their opponent New Zealand was happy to get their first win in their opener. Interesting choice of words “crash the party” since it means to attend a party to which you weren’t invited. Look at the Philippines roster in New Zealand and it is obvious if a soccer player was born and educated in the Philippines , they were not invited to wear the kit that has the Philippine flag.
There is a word for this in our vernacular and that word is salimpusa. The website tagalogland defines it as often a friendly reference to someone joining in an activity, despite not really being a full-fledged member of the group. ” I like the use of the adjective “friendly ” since a lot of pinoys who barely watch soccer yet are so behind the FIFA delegation don’t even know what friendly means in a soccer context.
Let me see , everybody is euphoric about qualifying and elated over the first World Cup win ever. Nobody noticed the lack of organic pinays on the whole team. The win is a testament to the soccer that is played in the Philippines. It is a testament to the soccer taught in the Philippines. That is all worthless. A Pyrrhic victory is a” victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Such a victory negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress. ” The message we learned is Filipinas born and educated in the Philippines are not welcome on the roster of the Philippine team once the games kick off in New Zealand.
Sarek : Kirk, I thank you. What you have done is…
Kirk : What I have done, I had to do.
Sarek : But at what cost? Your ship. Your son.
Kirk : If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.”
Do I think pinoys sold their soul?? I believe anyone who overlooks excluding organic talent for this result really does not care about Philippine soccer, they just want the holy grail of pansin without the work. There is no soul to sell.
Putting a very sharp needle into the balloon known as Pinoy Pride since 2012.