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PH football federation retires Azkals moniker, eyes new direction

MANILA, Philippines, February 27 ------ The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) confirmed that it will no longer use the famous “Azkals” moniker that has been the identity of the country’s men’s football team for almost two decades.  


Team manager Freddy Gonzalez said the decision came with the intention of focusing on the new direction the PFF administration wants to have with the men’s team, particularly its desire to have equal identity with both homegrown players and overseas-based counterparts commonly known as Fil-foreigners. “We are not using the Azkals name anymore because it doesn’t fit with the new direction the team is going,” Gonzalez said after the PFF held a press conference announcing the appointment of new coach Tom Saintfiet at Studio 300 in Makati City. “We feel that it already had its time and we now don’t consider overseas-based players as half Filipino. Everyone is Filipino and we’re all Filipino,” added Gonzalez. 


The name had been used since the mid-2000s, used as a reference to a local term to describe a street dog. It became an even more popular moniker when the Philippines pulled off an upset of Vietnam in the group stage of the 2010 Asean Football Federation Cup at the latter’s home pitch in Hanoi. Former team manager Dan Palami, who resigned in January, is said to own the Azkals trademark, and, according to Gonzalez, even offered to turn the name over to the PFF so that the moniker can still be used. 


But the PFF said that it would rather take a different direction. In fact, the federation had been using the terms “men’s national team” or “MNT” in its press releases. “Whether we come up with a new moniker or the fans come up with the new moniker, that’s something will just happen over time,” said Gonzalez, adding that addressing the moniker situation may be addressed after the Philippines’ two World Cup/Asian Cup Qualifiers matches against Iraq in late March. 




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