Image Source: Life's My Trip
Despite the very strong earthquake in Japan that destroyed lives and infrastructure, the Filipinos are still as focused as ever with the second leg of the AFC Challenge Cup where the Philippine National football team duels with Mongolia Blue Wolves. Fans were worried about the situation of the Azkals especially because they were in Japan when the earthquake occurred. It’s a good thing that members of Azkals also kept Filipinos informed with their situation and continuously tweeted updates. Simon Greatwich and Jason Sabio were not able to join them in Japan but had to make do with sleeping at the airport.
The trip to Mongolia took longer than the usual travel time, almost 24 hours, since the major earthquake caused a big disruption in transportation services. Finally, around 4am Sunday the Azkals arrived Ulan Bator and met a chilling response. Not from the fans but from the Mongolian climate which was around -20 degrees Celsius. Mongolia’s temperature was the reason they had to do their training in Baguio and Japan as they needed to acclimatize themselves. The training in Japan certainly helped according to coach Hans Michael Weiss and Philippine Football Federation (PFF) President Nonong Araneta. The Azkals might have lost the friendly game with team from Kanto University but they certainly learned something from it which would be of great help in their game against Mongolia Blue Wolves.
In every news report and the Azkals tweets it is obviously the weather that concerns almost everybody. Captain Aly Borromeo even tweeted that he went out to check the pitch and it almost turned into ice. One can just imagine how cold it is.
According to Inquirer:
“It was freezing out there, we couldn’t stay put,” Borromeo told the Inquirer in an e-mail after checking out the artificial turf at the playing venue. “We had to keep moving. I think we will be okay once we get warmed up. It would really help tremendously if there won’t be a wind chill and that the sun would come out.”
While they are resting they can wear thermal gear but while playing that would be impossible to do. The only thing they can do is sweat it out in their sports wear, which is possible with the winter football sports gear they will be wearing.
I believe Chieffy Caligdong when he said that they will just try their best to overcome the cold.
The game against Mongolia is set on Tuesday, March 15, at 1pm which is said to be the hottest time of the day in Ulan Bator. The Mongolians need at least 3 goals to prevent the Azkals from advancing to the AFC group stage. Coach Weiss is confident that the Azkals can overcome the challenge and so are the fans.
The Mongolians need to win by at least three goals to prevent the Azkals from advancing to the AFC group stage, but the Azkals’ coach Hans Michael Weiss is confident they can survive the challenge.
For those who are wondering how in the world the Azkals can play under the cold temperature in Mongolia, here is the explanation. The type of sports wear they will wear for the game is not like the usual jersey they wear, it's definitely not football shorts. It is actually high tech winter football sports gear made for them by their usual sports wear outfitter Mizuno but this time these are equipped with the Japanese outfitter’s revolutionary “Breath Thermo” and “Thermal Plus” technology that will keep the players really warm. The fabric is supposed to self generate heat and also converts the moisture generated thru physical exertion into heat. And though it has long sleeves it will still be lightweight and will not restrict the movements of the Azkals.
Here is how it looks like:
For the first picture, I would like to thank Patti of lifesmytrip.com which is where I got the picture of the team. She blogged about her being at the first game held in Bacolod City. Lucky her!
Today at 1pm the Philippines will be glued in on their television to watch the live telecast of the 2nd leg of the AFC Challenge Cup. Go, #Azkals!