Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ohhh What a Feeling!

Two days ago marked the first official win I could be a part of for the Malditas!  Last year we were not able to push past any of teams including the draw we had with Malaysia.  This year we rose to the challenge and even though we knew we wouldn't advance in the tournament, we played for our pride.  With a 7-2 win, I think we made a pretty good statement.  I am not really sure when our last win was and I don't know when we have scored 7 goals in a game either.  This is obviously a huge accomplishment for us.  

Though, there is much improvement to be made with our team and I think advancing out of the group is a reasonable and achievable goal for next year.  Our team is beginning to realize our potential and if we can get past this hump, I think our team, in the future, will be one of the AFF teams to beat.  Football in the Philippines is still relatively new here and it is starting to gain more and more popularity with women and that's ultimately what we need.  We cannot get better without the support of our country and people.  We know that every time we step out on the field we our playing for God, our country, and also the future of Philippine Women's Football.

Unfortunately, our success comes down to the support of our fans and the money available for our team.  A lot of people don't realize how much money is needed to run a football team, let alone a national team and none of us are even paid!  We talked to Malaysia in the hotel and their girls train 6 months together prior to the AFF tournament and get paid 700 USD a month each!  They also have two condos provided as well as transportation.. and they get three meals a day!  Our team on the other hand, is completely different.  The girls are working multiple jobs, they go to school, or maybe they have put their careers on hold all together.  We are scattered wherever we can stay whether it be our school dorms, ULTRA, our teammates houses, anywhere.   We don't get paid.  A lot of times we provide our own transportation.  We don't go abroad prior to tournament to train where other teams do.  We don't get the sponsorships like other teams do.  Lastly, we didn't even have our final team until the week of the tournament.  Up until then we had girls come in two months before and girls coming every week up until the tournament.  So given our circumstances, we really are doing our best.  Once our team has the support and a proper budget, we honestly can be one of the best teams in the AFF.  I think the media sometimes fails to see the positives of our team.  The positives outweigh the negatives as well.  We made history this past week and instead of praising our effort and congratulating our team,  an article ends with:

"With their early exit, the Malditas continue their disappointing performance in the competition, failing to get past the group stages for the previous five editions of the tournament." 


Tell me that after you have read what we do and what we deal with if what we do is disappointing.  I promise you one thing.  In thhis group of girls and staff, we have heart, we have passion, and we have desire.  Even if we don't get the resources that we need or could use, we will always do our best.  We are Filipinos and we will always fight.  LABAN! 




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Step by Step

Our game against Vietnam wasn't the same heartbreak as we had against Myanmar.  Though we weren't able to achieve a win, or even a draw, we competed this time and we left it all on the field.  There is still a long way to go, but we have made a lot of improvement.  

People don't realize that we used to be in Singapore's position getting beat by teams 10-0 and 11-0.  Now, we are getting beat 3-0 and 4-2. A lot of the goals scored on us were mental errors when we checked out of the game.  We definitely need to be more fit if we want to compete against the top teams in the AFF.  We cannot allow such easy goals and when we aren't where we need to be fitness wise, we make mistakes.  Our team has much to learn and improve on, however, one shall note that we ARE improving and we ARE learning.  We are certainly moving forward and I don't think we have as big of a gap as the AFF might think.  We will not give up and we will continue to progress.  It might take a few years, but we will win the AFF.  

Now, we have one more game left and that is against Singapore.  Tonight we need to prove that we are on our way to the top.  Winning is the only option today and I hope that our team can put a lot of goals up on the board.  At the same time we cannot take Singapore lightly and are defense must be confident, strong, and smart.  Our offense need to be hungry and on a top of it.  As always, we must play as a team!  I'm very excited and I hope for a good result!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Defeated, But Not Discouraged!

Yesterday we had our first game of the AFF Championship.  Although we lost 3-0 against Myanmar, there is a lot that we can take away from the game.  

We are still a very young and new team.  Some of us arrived two months ago, some one month ago, and one of the girls even arrived the week that we left for Vietnam all the way from Dubai.  On top of that, girls had school and work to attend to, so it was seldom we had our full team at practice.  Though, this of course cannot be an excuse.  We have to find a way to take ourselves to the next level.

I think it is really hard for our team to get over this hump.  We have been in the bottom half of the AFF teams for years now and we want so badly to get to the top half, but it is certainly not coming easy.  There have been a lot of things that have gotten in our way.  We still approached yesterday like we could do it. 

Before the game everyone was in good spirits.  I didn't think we were going to come out nervous again like last year.  We actually didn't for the first 5 minutes. I think Myanmar was even shocked that we were putting the pressure on.  Unfortunately, as soon as they got their goal, they were the ones to keep the momentum and for some reason we sort of collapsed.  Our team also had to deal with last minute changes.  The system we had worked on day in and day out had something changed and we could not figure it out and get over it and this killed us.  Though great teams adjust and get past it and we failed in this.  In college, we practiced multiple systems on the chance we would have to change in the middle of the game if our current one wasn't working.  Here, we tried to practice a few days before but when it came to the game we could not execute what we needed to.  The whole reason we changed our system was to adjust to other changes that took place on our team.  Our centerback had been out resting an injury for a month until a week before we found out that it had been torn, but she could still play if she got a pain shot.  So last second we get our centerback back, and we just throw her in the game.  Luckily, she is the type of player you can throw into the game and she will play her heart out and tough it out!  Another problem we had was that the field we train on is turf as well as smaller than an official field.  We had to do more running than normal which left everyone tired which then affected us mentally as well.  All these little things can be said, but at the end of the day they don't matter. Every team has to deal with these last minute decisions or changes or problems.  It the team that rises up above the problems that will succeed and we failed to do that.  

There is a lot of pressure on our team to do well, but we can't let that get to us. If we don't perform we don't get funding. And if we don't get funding it is even harder to get better.  The future of women's football in the Philippines depends on us now and with the women's pro league beginning next year we have a lot to show to make people see that this is worth it.  

So now we move forward.  We suffered a loss to Myanmar.. so what?  We still have Vietnam and Singapore.  Anything can happen, but at the same time we have to make it happen.  Do we have the determination, confidence, heart, and faith needed to beat Vietnam? And if we do, will it even be enough? We won't know until tomorrow.  But I promise you we will play our hardest and if at the end of the day we don't win, we will look back on this tournament as a learning experience and continue to move forward.  We are the underdogs here, yet this is still possible.  Just know that we really do have to fight harder than the other teams, but then again we are filipinos and we do have that FIGHT in us!  LABAN!

<3, Cookie #4

 our new kits!! puma was supposed to sponsor us but packed out last second.. so we copied their design and just left that stupid panther cat thing out.. you all know i hate cats anyway!
 so we were also supposed to get tracksuit bottoms from puma.. yeaaa instead.. skinny jeans, runners, oversized polos (we were supposed to get puma polos too haha), and teeny jackets=yuckkk.. it's okay patrice and i are still rockin it :)
 team foto in our 4 star hotel! actually very nice hotel and a lot better than the one last year in laos!! very pleased!! and def better than ULTRA! :)
 quick pic of a side street in ho chi minh city! there are so many motorcycles!! and all the girls ride!! and even in heels!! haha
 pic after training session at the game field thong nhat stadium.. far away field looks good.. then we realize its UMAK all over again :)
thong nhat
 grrrr not a fan of everyone in being in the hotel.. you have to see your competition 3 times a day or even across the hall.. there is a lot of staring down :) but still id rather not seem them except on the pitch where we can battle :)
 patrice with one of our azkals :) jason de jong and ohjay porteria both stayed behind to see our first game!! thanks for the support guys! much appreciated!
 hotel ice bath. nuff said.
 well one of those things where i wish i was on my college team again.. i thought it was a pain enuf to gather the laundry to give to our equipment manager to have taken somewhere to be done.. now.. i must find the filipino in me and do it myself hahah.. nanay will surely be impressed lol :)
 oh we look so good in our uniforms!! good job LGR! im lovin the royal blue instead of navy!! matches our flag better and just pops! 

thanks for reading and thanks for the support!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3