We watched the game live at the Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta! And what an experience! It was my 2nd time to watch a football game in that stadium, and the first time we said we should see a game when the Indonesian team is playing – just for the experience! (They take football very seriously here – it’s like an Ateneo La Salle game twentyfold – or maybe fiftyfold!) At that time, we were not thinking about the Philippines getting into the Semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup yet. Little did we know that they would and our first time to watch a game with Indonesia is against the Philippines!
Azkals warming up before the game
We only got our tickets today, by the generosity of some friends in Nike and the Philippine Team, who sadly got only a very small allocation. Isn’t it strange considering it was supposed to be our “HOME” game? We couldn’t even buy tickets if we wanted to because they said it was sold out after the first day. Hmmmm…. So we got what we could, and our tiny contingent was chopped to pieces. 4 people here, 3 people there… But we brought our flags, and raised them when we could. Funny though was that to my knowledge, only 3 of us wore our Pilipinas shirts!! I really was scared at first because I got many TAKE CARE warnings from friends who have lived here before. Thankfully, when we got to the stadium everything was peaceful. People were nice and polite to us; and were always ready to return our smiles. We came in the spirit of fun and excitement and that’s what we got in return.
Watching the team play really reminded me of my Ateneo days, since the colors are Blue and White. And yes the nearest thing I’ve experienced to this are the very spirited Ateneo vs. La Salle games. The only thing is there are NO Ateneans to cheer for their team and there are 75,000 La Sallians… in RED! LOL! Oh and the guards outside have sticks.
This is but a fraction of what it must feel in the FIFA World Cup, but it was awesome! The air was charged with excitement. Far from the stadium you can already hear the battle cries – the Merah Putih fans were whipping themselves into a frenzy!
Proudly bearing the Philippine flag. We had a massive one too, which we held up during our National Anthem.
I wonder how they pick the kids for these games? Do they bring em to the friendlies… or do they choose in the host country?
Photo op before the game. (Etheridge towers in the middle in white!)
By the way I love that our coaching team are in suits (though they must be dying in the heat!) because they look so dashing and so professional! Especially Head Coach McMenemy.
For some reason every time the ball was with James Younghusband, the crowd would boo… I wonder why?? (Is that guy grabbing his shirt? Just curious.)
Aside from many people smoking in the Stadium, (Almost everyone smokes here in Indonesia) when they scored the only goal of the match, the crowd started unleashing fireworks into the air and flares! It’s not healthy for the football players as well… when they are running so much their body needs fresh air, not smoke!
Oh and though I enjoyed the game and I just feel so lucky that I was able to watch it live, I felt sad that the “home” game wasn’t ours at all. The Philippine team should have felt our all out support in at least one game in the Semis! I loved seeing the love and support of the Indonesian fans to the Merah Putih – it was overwhelming and I am sure helped boost the spirit of their players. If only we could have given them that same support in the Philippines – or in Singapore at least where there would have been many Filipinos watching. But Martinez took that away from us when he gave up our right to have our home game in a neutral country.
SO did you get 50% of the ticket sales as promised by deposed PFF President Martinez??? This was his sole reason for having our “home” game in Indonesia instead of Singapore right?!? According to this article, all we got were free airfare and accommodations for the team. Way to go. I hope the article is wrong, but because of Martinez’ decision, there were barely 50 Filipinos scattered in that Stadium, and some of them even too scared to wear our colors in fear of a riot. And we almost didn’t get tickets to our own game! We don’t even know if we can get any for Sunday. Sad indeed =(
Time to think happy thoughts since I’m way past my bed time. I wasn’t sad that we lost 1:0 because the team fought the good fight and held their own. Good job Azkals! Considering Indonesia beat Malaysia 5:1 and Laos 6:0 (and these are football loving countries unlike us) they did excellently! Sunday even better I am sure!
I hope you enjoyed the pics I took! Forgive the quality since I don’t have one of those super zoom lenses that the sports photogs have! =) Tomorrow I’ll try to post some videos too!
Totally excited that we’ve been invited to a luncheon with the Philippine football team tomorrow! I’ll get more up-close pics of the Azkals. Stay tuned! =)
- Philippine Team wins! Biggest shock EVER in the history of the Suzuki cup!
- Video highlights of the Philippines’ upset over Vietnam
- Philippines’ “Home” game to be played in Indonesia – Suzuki Cup
- Football Hotties – Philippine Edition
- Read about our frustrating experience getting tickets for the Semi-finals here