Watching the Suzuki Cup Philippines vs. Indonesia Semi-finals 2nd leg live
I swear I meant to do this sooner… and I am sorry it’s so late! I decided to finally put up my post on Watching the Suzuki Cup Philippines vs. Indonesia Semi-finals 2nd leg live today! It’s only appropriate since today the Azkals are playing against Mongolia in the AFC Challenge Cup (THEY WON! WOOHOO!). It’s their first international competition since the one against Indonesia last December. You must wonder “Diplo Wife why did it take you so long?”
Today I finally sifted through the 500 photos I took and narrowed them down to 200. From 200 I had to narrow some more until I
reached a number that wont overwhelm y’all. You can imagine that I wanna post each and every photo. But alas I can’t so this is me trying to tell this once in a life time experience with some of my photographs. Hope you like it!
This post is a continuation of the afternoon pre-game pep-rally for the Azkals at Sultan hotel wherein we found out that the 2nd bus that was requested for by the Azkals coordinator did not arrive (Whaaaat?). This bus was supposed to be for the family of the players and the other pinoys who were watching the second game. We thought it was a good idea to go as a group so that we could cheer confidently and not be afraid of water bottles being thrown at us. I definitely wanted to stay with Anton’s mom, Tita Bettina, Tito Ted and their group. (I’m good friends with Anton’s cousin and in the Philippines that makes the moms/dads of your friends Aunts/Uncles) Yay! They told us to stick with them and go in together. It is so much more fun to cheer and watch a game when you are with a group! Strength in numbers!
The team coordinator even asked us if we had space in our car for some of the other family members. We did but the Indonesian security guy didn’t want to give our cars passes to park with the bus. Since we only had one driver then our friends in the other car had to ride with us as well or they would be stuck in the parking lot trying to find parking – which is basically impossible anyway. We were at least given permission to convoy with the bus which had a security detail so we could get through the traffic going to the stadium. The poor family members ended up inside the players’ bus standing. No problem they said because it was only a 15 minute drive. But it was so traffic and so hard to get past all the motorcycles that it became a 45 minute ride!
When we got to the stadium it got a bit crazy with the crowd booing the bus and the cars in the convoy. They were even checking if there were players inside our car. It was a bit scary because the there was such a big crowd the convoy could barely move – the security detail could not hold up against that mob. Some fan even keyed our car! =(
When we got into the parking the massive gates closed behind us and the crowd was booing and shouting at us “IN-DO-NE-SIA! IN-DO-NE-SIA!!” we all got down from the cars & bus. (Again – scary!)
The players went through the gates but they wouldn’t let us and the family members of the players through but what were we to do? Go out into that mob? We wouldn’t make it! Seriously. After the team managers talked to their security they finally allowed us to pass via the players tunnel for our safety.
When we came out I was astounded… in awe of the site that greeted me! Coming out from the tunnel it really hits you! So this is what the players see when they come out – it was breathtaking! (click on the image below to enlarge)
At first they wouldn’t allow us to sit in the VVIP area (they wanted us to sit in the VIP area – which was already full btw) but after Tita Bettina talked to them and told them that it would be difficult to guarantee the safety of the players family and the Filipino contingent if we didn’t stay in the enclosed and safe area of the VVIP section. They finally gave in.
*Note: the tickets they gave for the players family are all in lower categories and are not in the same location. 3 here, 4 over there, etc. It was really not fair because we wouldn’t be able to cheer and support the team if we are scattered in such small islands in a 80,000 person stadium!
They let us sit in the lowest row, but since it was not assigned seating the family members moved up a little.
Their reason was that they could not guarantee our safety in the higher rows so we should move down. Huh? That’s so weird right considering the higher we are the closer we would be to the Royal Box where the president would be sitting – I am sure it’s even safer! It didn’t make sense. Good thing Tito Ted told them we would take our chances – besides he said we had our security surrounding us. The president sent these tall Men in Black for the security of the Team’s contingent. They that stood surrounding us during the whole game. (Super badass right?)
The Indonesians really take their football to a different level. These fans are hardcore! Remember the Indonesian fan who was so friendly to us in the hotel? (He even volunteered to take pictures with us!) During game time he was a totally different person – taunting and heckling! (He’s the one on the right holding the sign below).
This time we were prepared! Since we stuck together and stayed as one group, we were able to cheer (albeit nowhere as strong as the Indonesians) and hold our flags up high with no fear! (unlike last time)
The players even clapped and showed their appreciation in response to cheers from the Philippine contingent:
Let the games begin! This is in no particular order.
The backstory of the picture of my friend W over there (bottom). This guy has this awesome talent of being able to fall asleep anywhere. He is an active guy who wakes up before dawn to go work out and go to work so it’s totally understandable. I was teasing him that he might fall asleep during the game. And during a lull when the crowd wasn’t going crazy I could see from the corner of my eye that his eyelids were getting heavy, so I whipped out my camera to take a pic and he heard the flash pop-up and immediately opened his eyes. Too bad. Almost caught him in the act! LOL!
The thing that I dislike is that there are some Indonesian fans who cannot help themselves but still light up flares during the game (not allowed by FIFA) and that whenever they score they launch fireworks already which make the air really smokey! The entire field gets smokey too and this is not good for the players who need fresh air for all that running! I wonder why they can’t wait after the game?