We Need More Fans In The Stadium!

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Manila has passionate football fans, for sure, but the PFF must take concerted action to attract fans to Azkals games.

Courtesy: Sports Gateway PH

In an effort to gather more fans support for the Philippines national team in their AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, the Philippines Football Federation moved the Azkals home games away from Manila. “We really need fan support, so we need to go to a place where there are more fans,” said PFF president, Mariano Araneta (ASEAN football report).

After witnessing the impressive turnout of about 10,000 spectators at Panaad Stadium during Ceres v. Tampines Rovers of Singapore in the AFC cup game in March, the PFF moved the recent game against Yeman to Bacolod City.

“We’re really happy with what we saw here in Bacolod,” Araneta said on Sports Enquirer. “We want fans to come out and support the national team. While we’ve tried other places, like Bulacan and Manila, we’ve seen tremendous support from the fans in Bacolod.”

But the 2,911 turn out for the game against Yemen highlighted one fact: the small number doesn’t mean the city’s football supporters aren’t passionate about the Azkals. Rather, it means that marketing and promotion have been inadequate. Filipino Football labeled 2,911 fans “disappointing.”

If there’s any city capable of strong support, it’s Manila.

The city has a large and diverse base of football fans. But several things have to happen to make larger turnouts a reality.

We need better results from our youth national teams. Youth teams can learn from watching senior teams play. The same principle applies to our female national teams.

There are PFL clubs that can strengthen the stadium with their players. And there’s also the WFL, which is blessed with many football clubs and players in different divisions. And how about the YFL with its abundance of players from U7 to U19?

There’s also the PFF women’s league, which is composed of mostly school alumni teams. And the number of football coaches and referees in Manila, alone, can fill one part of Rizal Stadium.

Courtesy: Goal.com

Foreign football fans in Manila Stadium are another thing that can be counted on. They’re always there.

It’s a different thing when a football organization, like Makati FC or Kaya Academy, says to support the national team at the stadium. It’s another thing if they say: “Today, all the players and parents should be in the stadium to support the Azkals.”

And let’s face it: the stadium experience is what makes fans want to go to games. But that experience has been lacking. You’ll find student and senior citizens getting a discount rate all over the country. That promotion needs to be implemented to attract more fans to the stadium.

Manila has passionate football fans, for sure, but the PFF must take concerted action to attract fans to Azkals games.


About Lerche Njang

My name is Lerche Njang. I’m a coach and scout who specializes in soccer. I’m originally from Nigeria, but now live in the Philippines. I own L & M Football Academy in Nigeria and work as the U14 head coach with FC Metro Manila. I played with the San Francisco Seals, the Kunming International FC in China, and Thunderbolt FC in Nigeria. I have an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ‘C’ coaching license and hold a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. I also earned a certificate in Soccer Operations and Management from Sports Management World Wide Birmingham, UK.

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