PH football pioneers rejoice in Azkals win
MANILA, Philippines - He had just been discharged from the hospital, but the man who was known as The Magician for his ability to score from 25 meters away through curving free kicks said he was feeling good after the 2-1 victory of the Philippines against Bahrain in the first game of the World Cup qualifiers.
"They are big and strong," said Pepe Teh, 79, interviewed on the phone by Rappler.com. Teh was a forward for the national squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 1958 Asian Games by beating Japan 1-0.
"I am happy, too," texted Vic Sison, the goalkeeper of that 1958 team.
Apolinar Arenal, the right halfback of the national team in the 1970s, switched to another channel during halftime but went back to the game when he was told the Philippines was leading 1-0. "Ayos. Galing," said Arenal.
This is only the second Philippine victory since the country began joining World Cup qualifiers in 1998, with the first being a 4-0 win over Sri Lanka on July 3, 2011. The Philippines was eliminated in the second round by Kuwait ( lost 1-2 at home at 0-3 away).
Norman Fegidero, whose winning goal against Malaysia shoved the Philippines into the semifinals of the 1991 Southeast Asian Games, said the new call ups Javier Patiño, who converted the second goal from a scramble, and Iain Ramsay helped the team.
"Phil Younghusband's position as halfback was a big factor. He could handle the ball well and could pass. He passed the ball to Misagh Bahadoran for the first goal," said Fegidoro in a phone interview with Rappler.com.
Fegidero, who coaches West Negros University, said the team has to get ready when they meet Yemen in Doha, Qatar on June 16. "They will be prepared for us,” he said.