The birth of Filipino football consciousness began when our national football team more popularly known with the brand name, Azkals, pulled off an upset against Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup last year.
Suddenly, football is part of Philippine pop culture particularly the good looking Fil-European players of the Azkals who now enjoy the adoration or even obsession of many Filipinos whether a real fan of the sport or not. Right now, the state of football in the country has been focused more on the players of the Azkals. It has yet to transcend into its full potential as a sport that Filipinos can really excel internationally.
All the funding by advertisers and private sectors have been placed into the national football team or Azkals but not into the actual development of the sport at the grassroots level. The advertisers are buying in and cashing in into the brand recall of the Azkals but not to really help football.
Yet, even before the sudden surge of the popularity of Azkals, one company already put its money on Philippine football development by gathering all existing football clubs and forming a league that no one advertisers wanted to support when they were still starting. Several years ago, LBC Express, Inc. already initiated the formation of a football alliance that gave life to United Football League or UFL.
Unlike its basketball counterpart, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), only the real fans of football knew about the football league. Yet, because LBC is passionate in supporting real football development, it became the real commercial backbone of UFL for several years now.
We did not read about game results in the sports pages of the national dailies because no one in the sports media wanted to cover it. UFL had no commercial value during the first years of it birth. Yet, half of the members of the Azkals came from the UFL.
The popularity of the Azkals slightly pushed the commercial value of UFL as well to a certain degree. On June 5, 2011, the UFL and football development will say hello to the consciousness of the millions of Azkal fans. The real potential of the Azkals will be tested locally as they face the best players of UFL in what is coined as “UFL All Stars versus Azkals”.
The football game on June 5, 2011 will be televised live on Studio 23.
The development of football lies in the league such as UFL where future players of the Azkals would come from eventually. Football as a sport in the country is still in its infancy stage and a league such as the UFL which needs the support of the Filipinos will help nurture a bright future where we can have a crop of Azkals generation after generation.
My Rule of Thumb on Azkals vs. UFL All Star: THUMBS UP.
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