I am one of those guys who are not excited with sports. I didn't share my kababayan's penchant with basketball or boxing. So, going to a sports event is never a priority during my stay here in Thailand. Yet I still said “yes” when a Filipino boss asked me to join him watch the football match between Philippines and Vietnam.
Thailand is this year's host of the AFF Suzuki Cup for Group A. The games are held at the biggest stadium in Thailand, the Rajamangala National Stadium. This stadium can hold around 60,000 people, which makes it very hard to fill.
See the riot police in the above photo. They are there to ensure peace and order. The Vietnamese football fans might riot at the end of the game. He he.
We bought the VIP tickets that has seats located near the entrance of the players' dugout. Each ticket cost 500 Baht! Very expensive and I almost wept when I had to part with my money.
Aside from the Philippine-Vietnam match, the tickets also allowed us to watch the second match between Thailand and Myanmar.
I noticed that the Thais are very organized in cheering with their team. They went in groups and have flags and noisy instruments that they can use to cheer their team. They even have little kids as cheering squads like this one:
We also saw a many Vietnamese and they are also organized. I was sad that I couldn't see any group of Filipinos outside the stadium. Where are our cheering squad?
I was disheartened to see a giant Vietnam flag on the other side of the stadium. Vietnamese audience really outnumbered the Filipinos. Even our seatmates are Vietnamese but this didn't stop us from cheering on the Azkals, which is the Philippine football team.
The game was truly exciting! Both side didn't score during the first half but there are times when score is just a hair breadth away. The Vietnamese were very noisy but the Filipinos did their best to shout their support to the Azkals. Even my voice became hoarse because of too much shouting.
|Players going to their dugout at the end of first half.|
Second half became more exciting because the Vietnam team became more aggressive. But their offence is no match to the high wall of defenders of the Azkals. The best part of the game is when Azkals hit their first score courtesy of Chieffy.
|Caligdong after hitting the winning goal of the night.|
It is the happiest moment of the game. Me and my boss shouted, jumped and clapped like there's no tomorrow. On the other hand, that goal silenced the Vietnamese audience. It is as if knives pierced their hearts.
I enjoyed watching that game. The most enjoying part is that we won. Good job Azkals! Hope that you reach the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Image of Chieffy came from the AFF Suzuki Cup website. You can read the detailed report of Azkal's victory on that website.
This will be my last post before I retreat from the Internet because of the busy days ahead. Hope to see you again few days before Christmas..