MANILA, Philippines – With only a month left until the start of another FIFA World Cup cycle, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) unveils the battle cry for the qualifying campaign: Stand Your Ground: 10K Strong!
The Philippine Men’s National Team embarks on another FIFA World Cup campaign, brimming with optimism as it seeks to once again relive the days when fans packed Rizal Memorial Stadium to support the squad.
The Philippines is grouped with Iraq, and Southeast Asia rivals Vietnam and Indonesia.
“The fans have always played a vital role behind the success of the Men’s National Team,” said PFF president Mariano Araneta.
“As the Azkals embark on another historic World Cup qualifiers campaign, our objective is to make them feel the support of the fans. Let us rally behind our team and show that we can pack Rizal Memorial Stadium. Let us stand our ground for our team and for our country.”
The 12,873-seater Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila has been designated as the venue for the Azkals’ matches.
It is a witness to incredible milestones in the past 12 years such as the first World Cup Qualifiers win over Sri Lanka and Stephan Schrock’s goal against Kuwait in 2011. The Azkals also notched their first win against DPR Korea in 2016, and also clinched a historic 2019 AFC Asian Cup spot with a thrilling come-from-behind win over Tajikistan in 2018.
PFF general secretary Mikhail Torre sees the campaign as an opportunity to ignite the support for the Azkals and Philippine football in a banner year highlighted by the Philippine Women’s National Team’s historic appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“We want to finish the year strong,” said Torre. “Our Filipinas did an amazing job in New Zealand and now it’s the Azkals’ turn to play at home.”
Torre said the campaign is divided into three parts.
“The first focus is the fan experience where we make sure the fans will enjoy good food, beverages, mini-games, and entertainment in the match venue,” said Torre.
“The second part is the promotional campaign where we reach out to the fans through social media posts, videos, influencers, and even fan-made content. We also plan on reaching out to communities such as schools, football clubs and academies, and open plays to invite them to experience the matches live. The third part is to ensure the consistency of this initiative and make sure fans keep coming back to the future home matches.”
Torre emphasized the PFF’s collaboration with the fans in this endeavor.
“It is important for the Federation to work hand in hand with the Fans in order to make this campaign a success,” he said. “We hope this can reignite the fire that once gave people hope that we can perform at the highest level.”
Ticket details for the 16 November 2023 match vs. Vietnam will be announced in due course.
Rizal Memorial Football Stadium
Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St., Malate, Manila, Philippines
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